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Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
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Sarah's Key (2007)

by Tatiana de Rosnay

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
8,980597527 (3.96)378
  1. 153
    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
    Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum (dara85)
    dara85: This also deals with the Holocaust. The book revolves around secrets that covers two generations.
  5. 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.
  6. 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)
  7. 30
    Suite Française by Irène Némirovsky (SqueakyChu)
    SqueakyChu: Both are novels that take place in Nazi-occupied France during WWII.
  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
    Ik schrijf u vanuit het Vel d'Hiv de teruggevonden briefjes van geïnterneerde joden in het Vélodrome 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.
  11. 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 378 mentions

English (533)  Dutch (54)  French (6)  Spanish (6)  Danish (1)  Norwegian (1)  German (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (603)
Showing 1-5 of 533 (next | show all)
This is one of my favorite stories of all time. The gripping story of a family’s struggle during the war. The heartbreak of loss and the hopes for a new life. I recommend this book all the time! ( )
  crathburn | Mar 23, 2019 |
I join the ratings minority with this one. I had to skim the last half because I couldn't take any more of Julia's repetitious questions ("What had happened? Was I doing the right thing? What should I do now? Where would my questions lead me?") and emotion-naming ("I felt guilty" "I felt sad and tired" "The unsettling thought frightened me") and scene-summarizing ("I thought over what we had said to each other a few hours ago..." "Earlier that day I had talked to her and she had said..."). I never bonded with her character in any way.

I kept reading only to know what happened to Sarah, but I spent most of the book frustrated by the way the author kept the answers away from me. There is no purpose in calling her "the girl" when we all know her name (she's carrying a key around and the book is called Sarah's Key), but even if we didn't, why not call her Sarah from the beginning? And the same goes for Julia's newborn daughter, who is referred to by her own mother, the first-person narrator, as "the baby" and "the child" for around fifty pages, as if the reader might believe Julia named her something other than Sarah. Gimmicks like this distracted me. The focus on Julia and her marriage crisis irritated me.

Sarah's story is devastating and powerful, but the method of its telling prevented me from ever feeling the power of it. ( )
  AmandaGStevens | Mar 2, 2019 |
An emotional account of dark days in the history of Paris. The holocaust continues to haunt us 60 years later. Never forget. ( )
  rmarcin | Jan 22, 2019 |
Two stories are told told in short, alternating chapters. The first takes place during the two-day Vel' d' Hiv', a Nazi-directed roundup of Jews by French police, surely one of the most shameful moments in French history. Over 13,000 Jews, including 4000 children, were arrested in July, 1942, and kept for days with little food or water and no sanitation, about 7500 of them in an enclosed stadium, before first the men, then the women, were taken to Auschwitz. The children, children of all ages, were kept for some days more and then transported to Auschwitz for immediate gassing. One child's story is told, that of Sarah, a 10-year old girl whose 4-year old brother locks himself in their apartment's hidden closet when the police break in. Sarah takes the key with her and promises to return for him.

The second story is of a modern-day American journalist, long settled in Paris, who discovers her in-laws' apartment was taken over by her husband's family only weeks after the arrests. She becomes obsessed with finding out who the family was and if anyone survived. Her discoveries result in dreadful memories unburied and family histories revealed, and they change the lives around her forever.

I had several strong reactions to this story. First, the descriptions of the stadium, of the agony of the families being separated and the children being torn from their parents with no explanation or any promise of resolution, was heartbreaking and immediate because of what's been going on at the southern border in the U.S. The details bring alive the monstrous situation certain of our political leaders seem to think is business as usual and with which they are little concerned. No, hopefully the kids our government have arrested will not be executed, but spiritually and mentally the damage is horrifying and likely to come back to haunt us. I hesitate to compare our current leaders with the Nazis (wannabes, maybe), but in this instance the similarity is pretty clear.

The other thing that bothered me was the author's descriptions of the French character. If she is correct, it's rather shocking to American sensibilities. If not, it's quite a gross exaggeration. If someone who has read the book and knows France ever comments on this I'd be very interested.

The book sort of winds down too long before the final page, but the first three-quarters make for a stunning page-turner. ( )
  auntmarge64 | Jan 20, 2019 |
I happened to read the book just before I went to Paris, read most of it in the city, so the book was very realistic for me.
Then, once again I read the book in one day and didn't rest or quiet until I finished it.

The story is little Sara story; she and her Jewish family taken in July 1942 to a transit camp and from there straight road to Auschwitz. The story is also the one of a journalist in Paris 2002 who was required to provide an article for his newspaper.
During research for his report, the journalist begins to investigate and reveals, the issues of arrest and deportation of Paris Jews and those of the surrounding area. Topics such as the transit camps, deportation eastward to Poland, and most importantly the subject of the intensive involvement of the French people in sending the Jews to their death.

As for France, I grew up and learned about the French Resistance, yet I never knew how much the French had not just surrendered to the Nazi dictates but had even helped in the deportation of their Jews, their neighbors, on the way to their end.

The book is fascinating but painful. ( )
  mazalbracha | Jan 12, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 533 (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 deAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Eggermont, MoniqueTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Michaux, AgnèsTraductionsecondary 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!
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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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On the sixtieth anniversary of the 1942 roundup of Jews by the French police in the Vel d'Hiv section of Paris, American journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article on this dark episode during World War II and embarks on an investigation that leads her to long-hidden family secrets and to the ordeal of Sarah, a young girl caught up in the raid.… (more)

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