Posted September 26, 2010on:
I bought several books during my trip. Even if bookstores in Manila have improved over the years, there’s nothing quite like book browsing in the States.
It’s about the roundup of French jews in Paris in the summer of 1942. The event is considered especially dark in French history because it was French policemen – not the Nazis – who rounded up their fellow citizens and sent them to camps in the French countryside before sending them to Auschwitz. Most of the victims were children – about four thousand of them. Very few people even knew about the roundup until Jacques Chirac talked about it in a speech a few years ago.
The book tells the stories of two fictional characters. The first is of Sarah – a 10 year old girl whose family is forced from their apartment in the middle of the night. In an effort to protect her beloved four year old brother, she locks him up in their secret hiding place and promises to return for him. The other story takes place 60 years later. American journalist in Paris, Julia Jarmond, is tasked with finding out as much as possible about what was called the Vel D’Hiv roundup. Her research unearths a painful family secret and alters her future forever.
It’s not the best written prose I’ve read but the story unravels in a manner so engaging that the pages almost turn themselves.