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Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

Ash
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Post by Ash » Mon August 31st, 2009, 1:48 am

[quote=""Chatterbox""]
Curiously, whenever I'm in Paris I see a greater and greater antipathy to foreign residents/citizens from overseas, especially the Moroccans, Tunisians, Algerians, etc. from the 'bled'. Many of them have lived all their lives there, yet are marginalized -- second and third generations included. An African-American friend of mine who lives in Germany compares France to the "Jim Crow" south of the 1960s. There is rampant discrimination -- if you have a North African sounding first name or surname (for instance, the prefix "Ben" is a giveaway), it's still incredibly hard to get even a job interview, even if you come top of your class.
[/quote]

What amazed me, but probably surprised no body else, was the French response to the horrible riots a few years ago. They interviewed people who honestly could not figure out why they were happening, could not see that their immigrants were so badly marginalized that they felt this was the only way they could express their anger.

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Miss Moppet
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Post by Miss Moppet » Tue September 1st, 2009, 12:48 am

I studied the French Occupation as part of my French A-level and we read a collection of accounts of survivors of the Vel d'Hiv raid. It was harrowing reading to say the least and a lot of the details have stuck in my mind.

Re the past/present thing, I love it when it's done successfully but it is a hard thing to do. I wouldn't attempt it myself until I was a lot more experienced than I am now.

I will be ordering this book from the library.

Chatterbox
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Post by Chatterbox » Wed September 2nd, 2009, 7:49 am

[quote=""Ash""]What amazed me, but probably surprised no body else, was the French response to the horrible riots a few years ago. They interviewed people who honestly could not figure out why they were happening, could not see that their immigrants were so badly marginalized that they felt this was the only way they could express their anger.[/quote]

Ash, exactly. Whereas I'd been in Paris shortly before, with a friend. We were in the 18th, walking back to the metro, and some teenage boys (French) ran past us after having ripped the hijab off a young teenage girl. She was nearly hysterical, afraid both of these kids who had terrorized her (she said it wasn't the first time) as well as her father. I loaned her my wool scarf until we could find a store where we could replace the foulard. It wasn't just the incident that astounded me, but the fact that none of the French people who witnessed it offered to help. Some laughed, some shrugged and turned away. For the first time I really understood what it might have been like to be Jewish during the occupation in France, or elsewhere in Europe, with your neighbors turning a blind eye as you became 'the other'.

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Miss Moppet
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Post by Miss Moppet » Sat September 26th, 2009, 1:21 pm

I found the book got progressively less readable as the focus moved off Sarah onto Julia. Personally I thought Julia needed a slap - she was so self-centred and seemed much less mature than her 11 year old daughter. Her Le Divorce-style marital problems were irrelevant and the two storylines didn't gel. So yes, I would have liked more of Sarah's story but it needed developing more as I agree with Chatterbox, it wouldn't stand alone as it is.

Apparently Tatiana de Rosnay has written several other novels in French. Based on this I wouldn't rush to read them but I might pick one up sometime.

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