Saturday, July 30, 2011

don't try to be fancy


Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
Rating: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
Genre: historical fiction, fiction
Challenges: 100 Book Challenge 2011, 2011 Page to Screen Reading Challenge
Review: In order for a narrative conceit to work, it can't get in the way of the story.  In this book, de Rosnay employs two conceits, one of which, alternating chapters between 1942 and present day, works fairly well.  Unfortunately, I felt like I was continuously tripping over the other conceit, that of referring to the main character of the historical chapters as "the girl".  It seems completely unnecessary to refer to her that way, since the reader can easily guess her name, and it's eventual revelation is completely anticlimactic.  Ditto for the revelation of the name of "the child" later in the book.

The story itself is engaging, if somewhat predictable.  Certainly, de Rosnay is to be given credit for bringing to light a part of the Holocaust - the Vel' d'Hiv' roundup in Paris - that gets little attention.  She's not exactly subtle about it, but her point is well-taken.

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