Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is brutally arrested with her family by the French police in the Vel dHiv 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 dHivs 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.
Soon to be a major motion picture!
Paris, July 1942
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. Hed 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!
The pounding took up again, louder. It echoed to the marrow of her bones. Her younger brother, asleep in the next bed, stirred. Police! Open up! Open up! What time was it? She peered through the curtains. It was still dark outside.
She was afraid. She remembered the recent, hushed conversations she had overheard, late at night, when her parents thought she was asleep. She had crept up to the living room door and she had listened and watched from a little crack through the panel. Her father...
If you liked Sarah's Key, try these:
A routine interview between a reporter and an elderly baker brings out memories of darker times: her life in Germany during that last bleak year of WWII. As their lives become more intertwined, all are forced to confront the uncomfortable truths of the past and seek out the courage to forgive.
A story about, among other things: A girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul. Winner of the 2007 BookBrowse Ruby Award.
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