An unforgettable book

Sue and I returned last night from our annual reunion of Oklahoma State University friends. On alternate years, we meet at the “cabin” of my college roommate, Don Gafford, and his wife, Sondra. Their home is located in spectacular country — the High Sierras — in the least populated county in the state of California. Sierra County has a population of only 3,300 people, but a multitude of snow-capped mountains, crystal-clear lakes, and green forests.

While relaxing in a hammock at the edge of Lusk Meadow, I had the pleasure of reading one of the finest Holocaust-era novels in print. Because of my own to-be-published memoir on the subject, I try to read any and all books on this subject — fiction and nonfiction. Some are good, some are fair, others are outstanding.

Taking its place in the latter group is Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay. It is a fictional account of a young girl’s separation from her parents, following a real event: the round-up of thousands of French Jews and their children — not by Germans, but by French police. Ms. de Rosnay teaches us about this shameful and little-known crime by skillfully interweaving two story lines — those of Sarah, the Jewish girl who holds a terrible secret and Julia, an American journalist, who uncovers the secret. The story is powerful and compelling. At the same time, it is so terrifying that — on many occasions — I wanted to stop reading. But, I couldn’t.

I am grateful to St. Martin’s Press, and its Griffin imprint, for publishing one of the finest books in this genre. Go out and buy this book. It will make you cry, but you will never forget it.

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