While the plot revolves around a journalist's search for the truth behind a round up of Jews in Paris during July of 1942, the deeper themes deal with the personal costs of hiding family secrets and burying family history. The book raises these questions:
Do we know who we are if we do not know our family's history?
Do hidden family secrets affect subsequent generations?
Why do families keep secrets?
Why is the search for a family's history so unsettling to some people?
Why do some people not care at all about their family history? Why do others care so much?