¶ Sarah's Key Þ Download by Æ Tatiana de Rosnay 3.
5 stars This is a dual timeline historical fiction novel, about the arrests of Jewish families in France during WWII and their terrible experiences, focusing on the actual historic Vel d Hiv roundup in July 1942, and a modern journalist s investigation of that event and her search for some of the people involved The inside of the V lodrome d Hiver bicycle stadium, demolished in 1959In the 1942 timeline, in Paris a 10 year old girl is arrested with her Polish mother and father in the middle of the night Her 3 or 4 year old brother, terrified, hides himself in their secret hiding place, a hidden cupboard Sarah locks him in, assuring him that she ll be back in a few hours Instead her family is taken to the V lodrome d Hiver, a bicycle stadium, where they and thousands of other Jewish families, including many children, were held in deplorable conditions, without enough food, water or sanitary facilities, for 5 days before being sent on to prison camps The family, frantic to get their little boy, plead with the police, but nothing is done.
In the other timeline, the year 2002, also in Paris Julia Jarmond, an American journalist married to a Frenchman, who has lived in Paris for about 25 years, is asked to write an article about the Vel d Hiv s roundup on its 60th anniversary As she investigates, she finds that her husband s family home is where Sarah s family lived before they were arrested Julia feels compelled to investigate this particular aspect of the tragedy, and gets involved deeper and deeper, despite resistance from her husband and others.
This book had a major impact on me, and when I first finished it I thought it was an easy 4 stars, despite some significant weaknesses in characterization and what felt like author manipulation But in the cold light of morning those things are bothering me The characters, especially the present day ones, are mostly stereotypes the suave, cheating French husband, the wise beyond her years daughter, the over eager nurse at an abortion facility, people hiding old secrets with a stiff upper lip It s pretty well written, but they re still thin It s also an emotionally manipulative book, from Sarah s experiences to Julia s love life I felt like the author was too obvious in pushing the reader to feel in certain ways.
But there were a couple of unexpected twists for me in the plot, and the Vel d Hiv plotline is truly compelling It brought tears to my eyes I don t regret reading it at all, if only because I m glad to know about this tragic historical event.
spoilers Lots of spoilers Don t read this disclaimer This is a review of the book, Sarah s Key, and not the Holocaust I give the Holocaust negative infinity stars, if you were wondering Fuck you Sarah s Key, you manipulative sonofabitching asshole How dare you make me feel like this at Christmas Dead baby brother in a cupboard Really Gassing the parents at Auschwitz wasn t enough I don t give a goddamn what you throw at me for the rest of the story I WILL NOT CRY AFTER THAT BULLSHIT I know that s all you want and you re not going to get it Not from me.
None of the miserable crap in this story would even happen Here s Sarah and her little brother as the police are banging on the door and taking the whole family away for being JewishShe grabbed him, but he wriggled out of her grasp and slithered into the long, deep cupboard hidden in the surface of the wall of their bedroom The one they played hide and seek in They hid there all the time, locked themselves in, and it was like their own little house Maman and Papa knew about it, but they always pretended they didn t Do they make cupboards that lock from the inside No If you ve got two kids who like to play in a cupboard with a lock, do you let them play in it with the key so they can lock each other in No You unlock it and hide the key Duh If the police come for you and you want to protect your brother, even if you think you re coming back in the morning, do you lock your brother in there for the night No No one would do that Not even a 10 year old You d just close him in If the police try to open a cupboard to look inside and it s locked, they re going to make you unlock it In times of extreme fear does a 4 year old kid decide to stay in a cupboard instead of going with their parents No see comments for revisions I should make to the two preceding paragraphs based on a fact I missed while skimming like the barbaric, hell bound skimmer that I am.
Then on top of all that we re supposed to believe that a new family moves into the apartment right after the old family leaves and no one smells the rotting child in the cupboard Have you ever had a mouse die under your refrigerator A raccoon die under your porch Right But lets just assume that the family doesn t smell it Maybe they don t have noses They would still probably pick the lock so they could USE THE CUPBOARD in their goddamn new apartment The whole premise of the whole plot is just one flaw after another And then that terrible poem at the end WHY Not to mention the half assed chick lit nitwit character I couldn t care less about Fucking Julia I wish she would die in a locked cupboard She takes up most of the book with her idiotic pregnancy and her arrogant French husband How refreshing An arrogant Frenchman Where on earth did the author come up with that Ok Ok Obviously this book made me really really mad and I gave it two stars, which is kind of weird But here s why The Sarah part of the story was really quite good I learned about the Vel d Hiv Roundup, which is interesting and upsetting and I d never even heard of It made me feel awful and guilty and pissed off, but it made me FEEL And that s something I shed one small tear at the very end totally against my will, DAMMIT When she named the baby Sarah, even though I saw it coming a mile away and I hated her anyway so why do I care URRGH I hated Julia, not the baby I m sure the baby was sweet.
Paris, July Ten Year Old Sarah Is Brutally Arrested With Her Family In The Vel D Hiv Roundup, The Most Notorious Act Of French Collaboration With The Nazis But Before The Police Come To Take Them, Sarah Locks Her Younger Brother, Michel, In Their Favorite Hiding Place, A Cupboard In The Family S Apartment She Keeps The Key, Thinking That She Will Be Back Within A Few HoursParis, May On Vel D Hiv S Sixtieth Anniversary, Julia Jarmond, An American Journalist, Is Asked By Her Paris Based American Magazine To Write An Article About This Black Day In France S Past Julia Has Lived In Paris For Nearly Twenty Five Years, Married A Frenchman, And She Is Shocked Both By Her Ignorance About The Event And The Silence That Still Surrounds It In The Course Of Her Investigation, She Stumbles Onto A Trail Of Long Hidden Family Secrets That Connects Her To Sarah Julia Finds Herself Compelled To Retrace The Girl S Ordeal, From The Terrible Days Spent Shut In At 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 LifeWriting About The Fate Of Her Country With A Pitiless Clarity, Tatiana De Rosnay Offers Us A Brilliantly Subtle, Compelling Portrait Of France Under Occupation And Reveals The Taboos And Denial Surrounding This Painful Episode In French History Front Flap This story could only have been written by a French person because anyone else could, and possibly would, be seen as casting stones Fortunately, Tatiana de Rosnay is a French citizen and her bravery is outstanding as she brings to light the heartbreaking historical story that runs underneath the fictional story like a dark, terrifying catacomb below the streets of ParisOn July 16 and 17, 1942, 13,152 Jews were arrested in Paris and the suburbs, deported and assassinated at Auschwitz In the V ledrome d Hiver that once stood on this spot, 1,129 men, 2,916 women, and 4,115 children were packed here in inhuman conditions by the government of the Vichy police, by order of the Nazi occupant May those who tried to save them be thanked Passerby, never forget Those are the words on a plaque near where the original V ledrome d Hiver nicknamed the Vel d Hiv was located A huge arena with seats and galleries reaching nearly to the roof where usually races were held on those days of July, the walls were filled permanently with fear, confusion, desolation, and misery Over six thousand Parisian policemen were commissioned to carry out this atrocity.
This is the story of Sarah who, with her parents, were part of the roundup This is also the story of Julia who, for the 60th anniversary, was to write the story of this terrible event for the American magazine she worked for in Paris The stories of these two characters become inextricably bound as Julia s research for her article branches off into a quest to learn about one particular little girl, Sarah.
This novel is brilliant, and so well written that when I set the book down the first time after starting it, I was convinced I would never be able to write a review because I was too upset Not just upset, angry We are now almost 77 years removed from this event and how quickly we forget.
I wasn t going to, but I did edit out several paragraphs of a rant about how close we all are to yet atrocities in our current world climate They are already happening Ultimately, 76,000 Jews were deported from France for assassination during occupation by the Nazis This could not have happened without the cooperation of the police and the people who informed on their friends, neighbours, doctors, lawyers, teachers, writers, artists, librarians, salespeople, service contractors.
I don t think we have to look very hard or very far to see how close we are to this same level of blind, ignorance driven and manufactured fear that leads to catastrophe Yet, power mongers continue to manufacture and use fear and continue to be listened to, revered, and in some cases elected to offices of authority and power.
Kudos to Tatiana de Rosnay for her courage in telling this story It has already been read by millions of people around the world My hope is that it continues to be read by millionsZakhor , Al TichkahRemember Never forget.
I finished Sarah s Key this morning and I have so many thoughts going through my head about it I loved the pacing of the story, how it switched between Sarah s story and Julia s story up until the point where the two merged I loved how the style of Sarah s story was completely different than the style of Julia s story I loved how both stories made me cry, even though I knew what was coming I loved how realistically the characters were portrayed Nobody was all good or all bad, just human with human frailties I loved the depictions of the small acts of conscience and kindness I had no idea about the roundups of Jews in France I did know that the Nazis tended to just send children who were too young to work straight to the gas chambers I think the author did a good job of illustrating why the French people seemed to forget what had happened and how the Holocaust indirectly affected them I hope writers continue writing stories like Sarah s Key that bring the atrocities of the Holocaust to light so we can learn and not repeat those mistakes.
October 2009 re reading this book again for another book club I hope I like it better than the 1st time but so far I m not seeing it Why would she use a word like ingurgitating when you can say ate That kind of writing irritates me a lot The true story is heartbreaking, and very interesting, but her writing just doesn t impress me as expressing the true horrors experienced by the deported Jews, or any real feeling for Julia s anger at her husband disdainful treatment of her Spring 2009 Predictable story, pedestrian predictable writing None of the plot surprises were surprising I felt I wasted my time on this book selected for a book club I belong to I agree with Katie on this one I did not enjoy this book It tells two stories one, about a young French girl whose family is rounded up and taken away during the Holocaust, and the other about a modern day journalist who is tracking down her story Julia, the contemporary narrator, was self obsessed, clueless and downright annoying I couldn t stand her husband, or even her perfect little kid, for that matter It made it hard to root for them because they were just so unlikeable The premise behind Sarah s story was good, but her character was so underdeveloped that I didn t feel emotionally invested in her story at all I wanted to feel something, because it was a Holocaust story, for crying out loud, but maybe once you ve read The Book Thief, everything else pales in comparison Plus, rather than showing the horrible conditions Sarah went through and letting the audience feel sad because they cared about her, the author just kept telling us how sad and terrible everything was, so there was nothing left to feel It seemed like lazy writing Also, the story was sooooooo predictable Every major plot point I saw coming from a thousand miles away I kept hoping that the author was intentionally misleading her readers, only to surprise them in the end, but no, everything turned out EXACTLY as I predicted from probably the first twenty pages Sigh.
3 1 2 starsThis author grew up in France and was never taught at school about the French complicity in rounding up Jews for the Nazis When she discovered information about the Vel D Hiv roundup, she knew she had to write about it The book is her tribute to the 4,000 children who were victims of that roundup I cried for these little people They were robbed of their chance at life before it ever really got started Bad enough that they were killed, but before that, they were left in the French camp without their parents Some of these kids were toddlers, left there with no one to comfort them and no understanding of what was happening The least we can do is to know their story and remember them.
I felt like the Vel D Hiv story was diluted by the current day drama of Julia and her vain Frog husband Bertrand I suppose the author was trying to connect the two time periods, but I would have liked to have information about the families of children like Sarah Of course, it doesn t help that I hated Bertrand and all his petty little concerns Regardless of that complaint,I still think everyone should read this book It highlights an important story.
I was intrigued by the plot for this book A young girl locks her brother in a cupboard at their apartment in Paris before the Police, at the behest of the Nazi s, take away her and her family They wait for several days in a detention center, in conditions like the Superdome, before being sent to camps in Southern France, and we wonder if she will retrieve her little brother before he dies or starves or hopefully, is rescued Unfortunately, another storyline involving a two dimensional American woman whining about her insensetive French husband comes in every other chapter and the mediocre writing makes what could have been an interesting story less than satisfying.
I might have given this book higher marks if I hadn t just finished the infinitely superior The Book Thief But as it is I m feeling pretty generous with my 2 stars The subject matter was intriguing I didn t realize what had happened with the Jews in France But the author spent too little time with Sarah and her experience there and too much time with boring, self absorbed, present day Julia and her sex life Snore