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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Jewish movie/book weekend

Weird to be finishing up a book about Germany between the wars, City of Shadows, and then also get the chance to see Sarah's Key, based on a novel about the round-up of Jews by the Vichy government in France in 1942.  Lots to think about, and of course lots of sad moments in both the book and the movie.

City of Shadows - I really enjoyed this book, it's a page turner; I don't really care about the crime in the book, though it's cleverly presented and solved, but I loved the history - the fascinating perspectives on Hilter's rise and the way different people coped and responded; she also includes a character who escaped to Germany from Russian, where Jews were persecuted for decades before the Germans got into the act (with their peculiar efficiency); affecting and thought-provoking

Sarah's Key - a moving story of course, and very well done; shockingly virtually lost to history, the French government shipped 13,000 Jews to Auschwitz in July 1942.  In this story, an American journalist living in Paris (Kristen Scott Thomas) discovers that the beloved apartment belonging to her husband's family since August 1942 became vacant when its Jewish occupants were deported.  She becomes obsessed with the (probably) surviving girl from the family, and doggedly pursues her story over several continents.  A gripping mystery that also addresses the choices inherent in modern marriage as well as family loyalty, secrets, and forgiveness across several generations.  A lot to pack into 2 hours; I haven't read the book myself (though I plan to), but several of my friends have read it and recommend it, and it's a book club favorite also.

Side note: I'm just about to start my next audio book, which also happens to be a Holocaust story, also well-known, popular, and rather off-beat, The Book Thief.

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