“When I launched myself into this book, I wrote it in a way I’ve never written anything before. I wrote it with my guts and my heart.”
Tatiana de Rosnay
Just about the only thing better than a great book is a great success story about an author writing a great book. That’s why I was so excited to read about the story behind Sarah’s Key. Now hitting the theatres as a film, the book has become an international best-seller. It’s been translated into 40 languages, sold more than 5 million copies, and was on the New York Times best-seller list for more than 70 weeks.
But Tatiana is definitely not an overnight success. She had written eight novels before Sarah’s Key and none of them managed to find much of an audience. Her best-seller took her a year to research, two years to write, and two years to find a publisher. Tatiana wrote it in English, which is actually her native language, and because of this, it was rejected by a number of French publishers.
A mention of the book during a magazine interview led to publicaiton in Frnace in 2007 and worldwide acclaim. In 2009, de Rosnay — an author who was a virtual unknown — became one of the top-ten best-selling authors in Europe, trailing Stieg Larsson and Stephanie Meyer but beating out John Grisham.
Sarah’s Key weaves a fictional story around the 1942 roundups and deportations in Paris in which thousands of families were arrested and transported to Auschwitz. This is a little known and little discussed event in French history that Tatiana rescued from obscurity. As the mother of two young children at the time she was writing the book, Tatiana was especially moved and disturbed by the numbers of children sent away.
De Rosnay became interested in the roundups and the street where they happened while researching an earlier book. It was a part of Paris history that wasn’t taught in schools when she was growing up there in the 1970s.
How amazing to think that one writer, whose heartstrings were tugged by a hidden story that she uncovered, was able to tell the world something it needs to know and remember.