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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sneaky Peeky Sunday: Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay


Since the book 'Sarah's Key' by Tatiana De Rosnay is a plot that involves the intertwining of two separate storylines, I will share with you two pages of the novel:

The first part from a page from the book:

"I can't stop you having this baby. But I need you to know that I just can't come to terms with it. Having this child is going to destroy me."

I wanted to express pity - he seemed lost, defenceless - but instead, an unexpected feeling of resentment too over me.

"Destroy you?" I repeated.

Bertrand got up, poured himself another drink. I glanced away as he swallowed it.

"Ever heard of midlife crisis, amour? You Americans are so fond of that expression. You've been wrapped up in your job, your friends, your daughter, you haven't even noticed what I've been going through. To tell the truth, you don't care. Do you?"

I stared at him, startled.

He lay back on the sofa, slowly, carefully, gazing up at the ceiling. Slow, precautious gestures I'd never seen him use. The skin of his face seemed crumpled. All of a sudden, I was looking at an aging husband. Gone was the young Bertrand. Bertrand had always been triumphantly young, vibrant, energetic. The kind of person who never sits still, always on the go, buoyant, fast, eager. The man I was staring at was like a ghost of his former self. When had this happened? How could I not have seen it? Bertrand and his tremendous laugh. His jokes. His audacity. Is that your husband? people would whisper, awed, galvanized. Bertrand at dinner parties, monopolizing conversations, but nobody cared, he was so riveting. Bertrand's way of looking at you, the powerful flicker of his blue eyes and that crooked, devilish smile.

Tonight there was nothing tight, nothing taut about him. He seemed to have let go. He sat there, flaccid, limp. His eyes were mournful, his lips drooped.

"You've never noticed, have you, what I've been going through. Have you?"

His voice was flat, toneless. I sat down next to him, stroked his hand. How could I ever admit I had not noticed? How could I ever explain how guilty I felt?

"Why didn't you tell me, Bertrand?"

The corners of his mouth turned down......'

The second part from a page from the book:

'She wondered where her father was. Somewhere in the same camp, in one of the sheds, surely, but she only saw him once or twice. She had no notions of the days slipping by. The only thing that haunted her was her brother. She woke at night, trembling, thinking of him in the cupboard. She took out the key and stared at it with pain and horror. Maybe he was dead by now. Maybe he had died of thirst, of hunger. She tried to count the days since that black Thursday the men had come to get them. A week? Ten days? She didn't know. She felt low, confused. It had been a whirlwind of terror, starvation and death. More children had died at the camp. Their little bodies had been taken away amid tears and cries.

One morning, she noticed a number of women talking with animation. They looked worried, upset. She asked her mother what was going on, but her mother said she didn't know. Not to be deterred, the girl asked a woman who had a little boy her brother's age, and who had slept next to them for the past few days. The woman's face was reddish, as if she had a fever. She said there were rumours, rumours going around the camp. The parents were going to be sent East, to work. They were to prepare for the arrival of the children, who were to come later, in a couple of days. The girl listened, shocked. She repeated the conversation to her mother. Her mother's eyes seemed to click open. She shook her head vehemently. She said no, that couldn't possibly happen. They couldn't possibly do that. They couldn't separate the children from their parents.'

- Debolina Raja Gupta