Seems like everybody’s talking about…

Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
There’s been lots and lots of raving about this book, which made me really rather want to avoid it. (You have entered the domain of the Surly Reader. Beware.)
But once I started listening to it, I understood the reason for all the fuss—it’s one heck of a gripping storyline.
The story goes back and forth between the present—when an American-in-Paris journalist named Julia begins researching the July 1942 round-up of Jews by the French police—and the past, 1942, when a young girl named Sarah is sent to a camp along with her parents. Sarah’s little brother, however, hid in a secret cabinet in their apartment, and Sarah locked the cabinet so he would be safe from the police, thinking she would return later that evening to free him. Instead, her parents were sent to Auschwitz, and Sarah was held in a brutal camp for days before making her escape.
It turns out that Julia’s in-laws lived in the apartment previously owned by Sarah’s family, so the two storylines come together.
There’s all kinds of other drama in this book—a marriage in crisis, an unexpected pregnancy, and family secrets all over the place.
The storyline is strong; the writing is so-so. The second time I heard words along the lines of, “The only thing that mattered was…” I rolled my eyes. Really? So it’s good that the plot is able to carry the day.
The audio version (10 hours in length) is well-done; reader Polly Stone has a voice that is well-suited to the story. For me as a reader, the audiobook was a good choice.
So here’s the key (I swear: no pun intended) question posed by this book: Is it better to leave the past in the past?

2 thoughts on “Seems like everybody’s talking about…

  1. I have felt the same way about this book, and I'm still unsure whether I want to read it or not. Your review is tipping me in favor of reading it. If the storyline is gripping, then maybe the so-so writing won't bother me.

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