I don’t know about you but sometimes there is nothing like a wee cry. I seem to be rather inclined to these at the moment. I am not sure if it is my Christmas bank balance, end of year fatigue or the $45 parking ticket I got for shopping too long at Riccarton Mall the other day, but I do need to vent. If you feel a little bit melancholy and need a book to fit your mood then read Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay.
This book is a fictional account of the factual 1942 Paris roundups and deportations, in which thousands of Jewish families were arrested, held at the Vélodrome d’Hiver outside the city, then transported to Auschwitz. What made these round ups so unsettling was that they were all done with the full co-operation of the French authorities and that the majority rounded up were women and over 4,000 children who had not bothered to hide thinking men were the main target.
This book is split into two experiences – Sarah who is ten years old at the time of the round up and Julia who is writing for a Paris based American magazine about the 60th anniversary of the Vél’ d’Hiv’ roundups many years later. Julia soon learns that the apartment she and her French husband 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 four-year-old Michel and 10 year old Sarah.
The two stories effortlessly combine into a very sad story that contained much grief. Perhaps not the happiest book to blog about in the festive season you say? I would say perspective on your own sorrows as well as a few tears is needed even more at this time. Even when your family are driving you nuts this book will make you want to hug them all a lot closer.