From the author of Sarah’s Key comes a new book with a completely different direction. The Other Story revolves around a young and very successful writer who goes by the name Nicholas Kolt. The novel that made him famous is a fictionalization of his own story of how he discovered that his father, who died when Nicholas was a boy, is not who he thought he was. Now Nicholas still faces the mysteries behind his father’s life and death, while trying to reconcile himself to his fame. While spending a weekend with his girlfriend at a luxurious resort in Italy, he must come to grips with the past and the people he’s let down since his book took off.
I never found this book dull. It’s refreshing and unique, and provides perspective into how a person’s life can change for the worse with success and fame. It’s told in two time frames, alternating between Nicholas’ vacation in Italy (the present) and his search for his father’s past. Unlike other books that move between time frames, however, I did not find the shift jolting or distracting. The book reads smoothly and naturally. What’s more, de Rosnay’s cast of characters is vivid and colorful, personalities and appearances both brought to life.
I think a common criticism of the book will be its predictability. There were no surprises in the book, no twists, no punches (unlike Sarah’s Key. I’m still traumatized). Also, the original French title of the book directly translates to “In Russian Ink,” a much more intriguing and fitting title, in my opinion. Someone dropped the ball on that one.
The Other Story will most likely receive a fraction of the clamor and praise that de Rosnay garnered for Sarah’s Key, although apparently it has done well in France. Nonetheless, it’s an interesting read that’s worth picking up from the library.
The Other Story by Tatiana de Rosnay is available today from St. Martin’s Press.