Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

Sarah's Key

The book is a huge bestseller , so whatever I think will have to be taken in that context. It is immediately accessible, and has two enticing threads: one of a blond Jewish child from Paris during the German occupation of France, and the other of a forty-something American journalist married to a Frenchman and living in Paris. We can empathize with the one while envying the other. I was not suprised to learn the author is French, as the voice is clearly 'other' than American, and very interesting for that. But not even halfway through the story begins to show cracks: a 10-year-old girl proposes to bribe a train conductor with cash, and the journalist shows a naïveté and an insensitivity that makes us less interested in her search. I only skimmed the last half of the book, having lost faith with the narrator. It is possible the book could have been a very tight and taut short story, but it felt much too long for a novel.

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