Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is brutally arrested with her family by the French police in the Vel' d'Hiv' roundup, but not before she locks her younger brother in a cupboard in the family's apartment, thinking that she will be back within a few hours.Read more...
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Publisher: St. Martin's Press$24.35
More About Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay; Polly StoneOverview
Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is brutally arrested with her family by the French police in the Vel' d'Hiv' roundup, but not before she locks her younger brother in a cupboard in the family's apartment, thinking that she will be back within a few hours.
Paris, May 2002: On Vel' d'Hiv's 60th anniversary, journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article about this black day in France's past. Through her contemporary investigation, she stumbles onto a trail of long-hidden family secrets that connect her to Sarah. Julia finds herself compelled to retrace the girl's ordeal, from that terrible term in the Vel d'Hiv', to the camps, and beyond. As she probes into Sarah's past, she begins to question her own place in France, and to reevaluate her marriage and her life.
Tatiana de Rosnay offers us a brilliantly subtle, compelling portrait of France under occupation and reveals the taboos and silence that surround this painful episode.
Publishers Weekly Reviews
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 124.
- Review Date: 2009-06-29
- Reviewer: Staff
In the summer of 1942, the French police arrested thousands of Jewish families and held them outside of Paris before shipping them off to Auschwitz. On the 60th anniversary of the roundups, an expatriate American journalist covering the atrocities discovers a personal connection—her apartment was formerly occupied by one such family. She resolves to find out what happened to Sarah, the 10-year-old daughter, who was the only family member to survive. The story is heart-wrenching, and Polly Stone gives an excellent performance, keeping a low-key tone through descriptions of horror that would elicit excessive dramatics from a less talented performer. Her characters are easy to differentiate, and her French accent is convincing. De Rosnay's novel is captivating, and the powerful narration gives it even greater impact. A St. Martin's hardcover. (June)BookPage Reviews
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A key to the past
Two narratives tangle and untangle in Tatiana de Rosnay’s novel, Sarah’s Key, read by Polly Stone. The first story is Sarah’s. In the early hours of July 16, 1942, more than 13,000 French Jews—men, women and children—were taken from their homes by gendarmes, herded into the Vel’ d’Hiv hippodrome, and kept in inhumane conditions before being shipped to Auschwitz and death. Ten-year-old Sarah Starzynski, stunned and disbelieving, was one of them. Just as the police burst into her parents’ apartment, she hid her little brother in the closet, locked it, pocketed the key, sure she’d be home soon. The second story begins 60 years later when Julia Jarmond, an American journalist who’s lived in Paris for 25 years, married to an attractive, arrogant French architect, is asked to write a story to commemorate the anniversary of the infamous Vel’ d’Hiv roundup. Instinctively drawn into those dark days, she discovers secrets long held by her husband’s haute bourgeois family and a surprising connection to Sarah. As she follows clues to Sarah’s fate, Julia finds herself questioning her own life in France, her marriage, her chic, distant in-laws, her very future. Sarah’s Key opens a door into this heartbreaking WWII episode that’s been cloaked in silence, making it intensely real and affecting.
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