She decides to tell the story of her maternal grandfather after finding a box filled with his many correspondences with artists of the time. Paul Rosenberg, a well-known Parisian art dealer was stripped of his French identity during World War Two by the Vichy government because he was Jewish. He was one of the "lucky" ones who was able to save his family as he fled to New York, but his gallery filled with masterpieces from artists who became household names was lost to the Nazis.
As she delves into her family history, Sinclair brings me to tears and smiles, but always reinforces the horror that people can inflict on one another. There are heroic moments too. Her paternal grandmother, for example, somehow managed to dress herself as a nurse, borrow a Red Cross ambulance and some false papers, and get her paternal grandfather out of the antechamber of deportation. There are also moments when friends become enemies, and the good guys are hard to spot.
This book is for anyone who loves art, who enjoys history or just wants to read a captivating story. The translation is so well done that I had to keep reminding myself that it was not originally written in English. I definitely recommend it and look forward to finding other works by Anne Sinclair.
Publisher - Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Date of Publication - September 16, 2014