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Sarah's Key (2007)

by Tatiana de Rosnay

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
10,176627564 (3.97)390
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.… (more)
  1. 163
    The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer (vulgarboatman)
    vulgarboatman: Similar themes surrounding a journalist discovering the layers of secrets about a mystery from WWII, along with an exploration of the effect of these events on the survivors, their families, and ultimately on the journalist herself.
  2. 111
    The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne (vvstokkom)
    vvstokkom: Ondanks dat het een zwaar onderwerp betreft, leest het net zo makkelijk weg.
  3. 90
    The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (vulgarboatman)
  4. 30
    Suite Française by Irène Némirovsky (SqueakyChu)
    SqueakyChu: Both are novels that take place in Nazi-occupied France during WWII.
  5. 30
    Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum (dara85)
    dara85: This also deals with the Holocaust. The book revolves around secrets that covers two generations.
  6. 52
    The Virgin Blue by Tracy Chevalier (JGoto)
    JGoto: This book has the same format and setting, but is a much better novel. The past deals with the Huguenots in France rather than the persecution of Jews.
  7. 30
    Shadows of a Childhood by Elisabeth Gille (smcwl)
    smcwl: In this novel, written by Irene Nemirovsky's daughter, a young girl in Paris during the Occupation successfully hides during a police search, then stays hidden by a convent girls school during the war. Memorable images of the hotel set up as a post-war hospital and center for finding lost family members. Highly recommend.… (more)
  8. 10
    The Sixth Lamentation by William Brodrick (cransell)
    cransell: This novel also deals with the Vichy period in France, the aftermath of events that had happened there, and family secrets. It's a great read, if you found that time period interesting.
  9. 10
    The Things We Cherished by Pam Jenoff (dara85)
  10. 00
    Children of the Stars by Mario Escobar (Micheller7)
  11. 00
    Ik schrijf u vanuit het Vel d'Hiv: teruggevonden briefjes van geinterneerde joden in het Velodrome d'Hiver van Parijs by Karen Taieb (guurtjesboekenkast)
    guurtjesboekenkast: Ook Sarah werd naar het Vélodrome d'Hiver in Parijs gebracht voordat ze naar het concentratiekamp werd gedeporteerd. Tatiana de Rosnay heeft zelfs het voorwoord geschreven voor dit boek.
  12. 00
    A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen (lucy.depalma)
  13. 03
    The Girl From the Train by Irma Joubert (guurtjesboekenkast)
    guurtjesboekenkast: Dit boek gaat ook over de tijd van de Holocaust
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» See also 390 mentions

English (559)  Dutch (53)  Spanish (6)  French (6)  Danish (1)  Norwegian (1)  Italian (1)  German (1)  All languages (627)
Showing 1-5 of 558 (next | show all)
Really great book. Did get booring at times but kept me i
On my toes with the twist and turns of the plot. Overall 4/5. ( )
  AshleyPelletier | Jun 30, 2022 |
Even though Julia & Bertrand were terrible people who did terrible things, I still enjoyed reading this. Sarah's story is a wrecking ball to the heart but I didn't know of the Vel' d'Hiv' and all that went on there in 1942. The 2000's storyline didn't do the 1940's story justice IMO. But overall I'm glad I read this. ( )
  ilkjen | Jan 21, 2022 |
I kept hearing how amazing this book was and I really wanted to like it. But it's just... bad.

I don't know even where to start. The Sarah's story is tragic, yes. But Sarah herself is not much believable as a character. No 10-year-old thinks like that ('why didn't father trust me?' and all that).

And all the manipulative and not-so-subtle stuff (as in "Why do people hate Jews? Why do they say we're different? Surely we're not that different" - like really, what an original thought) didn't make the book better either.

And don't even get me started on the two-dimensional Julia and the whole plot line in the present. Just one question - were we supposed to be moved and SURPRISED when she said her daughter's name was Sarah? I mean please, we knew she would be Sarah the second we read Julia was pregnant.

Overall, a waste of time, really predictable and shallow. ( )
  alissee | Dec 8, 2021 |
This is one of those rare books that you just have to read at least once in your lifetime. This author is fantastic. I was hooked from page one. There are countless novels, movies etc. that are set in World War 2, but that doesn't make them all the same or another one boring. If you want to read a novel dealing with that time, this is the one to read. In fact, most of this story takes place around 2002. Its told in alternating chapters, one takes place in Paris, July 1942 and a young girl is getting arrested with her family. The other chapters is a woman named Julia, an american woman who has lived in Paris for 25 years and is a journalist. Her boss tells her to research the anniversary of Vel d'Hiv and it leads her to find out the story of the girl. I must say I had never heard of Vel d'Hiv before. It shocked me and it made me angry, and made me incredibly sad. This author brings the characters to life in a way that the books I have been reading recently just haven't. It was beyond refreshing. I will definitely check out what else this author has to offer. Do yourself a favor and read this book. ( )
  banrions | Dec 7, 2021 |
A very well written and intense story, with a very human touch. My favorite character, is Zoë, even though not a lot was written about her. ( )
  geoff79 | Jul 11, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 558 (next | show all)
"Tatiana de Rosnay offers a brilliantly subtle, compelling portrait of France under occupation and reveals the taboos and silence that surround the painful episode in that country's history. De Rosnay's U.S. debut fictionalizes the 1942 Paris roundups and deportations, in which thousands of Jewish families were arrested, held at the Velodrome d'Hiver outside the city, then transported to Auschwitz. Forty-five-year-old Julia Jarmond, American by birth, moved to Paris when she was 20 and is married to the arrogant, unfaithful Bertrand Tezac, with whom she has an 11-year-old daughter. Julia writes for an American magazine and her editor assigns her to cover the 60th anniversary of the Vel' d'Hiv' roundups. Julia soon learns that the apartment she and Bertrand plan to move into was acquired by Bertrand's family when its Jewish occupants were dispossessed and deported 60 years before. She resolves to find out what happened to the former occupants: Wladyslaw and Rywka Starzynski, parents of 10-year-old Sarah and four-year-old Michel. The more Julia discovers — especially about Sarah, the only member of the Starzynski family to survive — the more she uncovers about Bertrand's family, about France and, finally, herself. Already translated into 15 languages, the novel is De Rosnay's 10th (but her first written in English, her first language). It beautifully conveys Julia's conflicting loyalties, and makes Sarah's trials so riveting, her innocence so absorbing, that the book is hard to put down." Publishers Weekly (starred review)
added by nicole_a_davis | editPublisher's Weekly
 
This is without a doubt the best book I've ever read. I was actually reading it during finals today, and I reached the saddest part in the book and began to cry. This book touched me and made me think like no other book ever has.
added by tonystark444 | editDuluth News Tribune
 

» Add other authors (14 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Rosnay, Tatiana deprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Eggermont, MoniqueTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Michaux, AgnèsTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pouwels, KittyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vermeulen, JorisAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
My God! What is this country doing to me? Because it has rejected me, let us consider it coldly, let us watch it lose its honor and its life. --Irene Nemirovsky, "Suite Francaise" -1942
Tyger! Tyger! burning bright In the forests of the night, What immortal hand or eye Could frame they fearful symmetry? --William Blake, "Songs of Experience"
Dedication
To Stella, my mother
To my beautiful, rebellious Charlotte
In memory of Natacha, my grandmother (1914-2005)
First words
The girl was the first to hear the loud pounding on the door. Her room was closest to the entrance of the apartment. At first, dazed with sleep, she thought it was her father, coming up from his hiding place in the cellar. He'd forgotten his keys, and was impatient because nobody had heard his first, timid knock. But then came the voices, strong and brutal in the silence of the night. Nothing to do with her father. "Police! Open up! Now!"
Quotations
Listening to Joshua, I realized how little I knew about what happened in Paris in July 1942. I hadn't learned about it in class back in Boston. And since I had come to Paris twenty-five years ago, I had not read much about it. It was like a secret. Something buried in the past. Something no one mentioned.
There had been over four thousand Jewish children penned in the Vel' d'Hiv', aged between two and twelve. Most of the children were French, born in France.
None of them came back from Auschwitz.
On July 16 and 17, 1942, 13,152 Jews were arrested in Paris and the suburbs, deported and assassinated at Auschwitz. In the Velodrome 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!
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (2)

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.

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Book description
Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten-year-old girl, is taken with her parents by the French police as they go door to door arresting Jewish families in the middle of the night. Desperate to protect her younger brother, Sarah locks him in a bedroom cupboard -- their secret hiding place -- and promises to come back for him as soon as they are released. Sixty Years Later: Sarah's story intertwines with that of Julia Jarmond, an American journalist investigating the roundup. In her research Julia stumbles onto a trail of family secrets that link her to Sarah, and to questions about her own future.
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