Friday, April 24, 2009

History lesson about the Holocaust.

I picked up Sarah's Key at BN because it was sitting on one of those tables in the middle of the aisle. It sounded really interesting, despite the fact that it was yet "another Holocaust story". Not that I don't like the genre, but I've already read The Boy in the Striped Pajamas and The Reader this year. Nevertheless, the premise of the book sounded intriguing enough.

Sarah's Key weaves two differnt tales - one about a young girl in France who locks her little brother in a closet so that he'll be safe as the rest of her family is sent into concentration camps, the other about a grown woman journalist who is doing an article on the Velodrome d'Hiver roundup. As the novel progresses, the two stories interweave.

I had never heard of this particular angle of the Holocaust, so the book was really educational for me. The horror of it was that it wasn't the Nazis who did the roundup, but the French police, who voluntarily aided the requests of the Nazi government. Additionally, although the Nazis had only asked for adults, the French government, unsure of what to do with the kids that would be left behind, also took the children into custody, which meant that all of them died as well.

The language of the book could have been better - I felt the dialogue stilted at times, and I wasn't all that compelled by the story of the present day narrator. She wasn't particularly likable. But I was willing to overlook all of that as a framing device, just to find out more about the story. I guess inherently, something like this is compelling, so it's easy to be sucked into it regardless of language. Also, I wondered if the book was originally and French, and so was perhaps something about the translation.

Nevertheless, I did find the story content touching and heartbreaking at moments, and we all know that if a book can make me cry, well, I'm a sucker for it. So I still liked this a lot and recommend it. Plus, it was a really fast read.

1 drops:

Jewish said...

Every story about Jews and Holocaust is touching! We must never forget it...

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