Friday, May 22, 2009

Sarah's Key-Tatiana de Rosnay

Sarah's Key
Tatiana de Rosnay
St. Martin’s, Oct 2008, $13.95
ISBN: 9780312370848

In the summer 1942 under the Nazi occupation orders, the French gendarme violently arrest Jewish families. Amongst those brutally rounded up is ten year old Sarah and her parents Wladyslaw and Rywka Starzynski. Before Sarah is grabbed, she hides her four years old younger brother Michel inside the apartment’s cupboard expecting to return rather shortly to free him.

On the sixtieth anniversary of the intolerance dark Vel’d’Hivs, fortyish American expatriate journalist Julia Jarmond is assigned to write an article about this day of infamy. Her research finds her connected to Sarah through the apartment she and her womanizing spouse Bertrand Tezac reside in; as that was where the Starzynski family lived before the snatch and the Bertrand brood took occupancy.

This is an incredible look at a dark moment in French history as seen by a reporter six decades later following the tragic footsteps of one Jewish family. The cast especially in WWII is super as the audience will feel they are with Sarah and her family from the moment the cops raid their apartment. Julia is also a terrific protagonist as she refuses to bow to pressure from her in-laws or fiancĂ© to end her research or look for someone else. Although Bertrand pales next to the journalist and the Starzynski brood, fans will appreciate Tatiana de Rosnay’s haunting profound glimpse at the day Paris sold its soul to the Nazis.

Harriet Klausner

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