The narration jumps ahead again. Julia receives a phone call from Zoë, who is eager to know what progress Julia has made on Sarah’s case. Julia says that Sarah left France for the States in 1952. She then privately reflects on her conversation with Gaspard. She told him how Sarah’s story is linked to her in-laws, and that she wants to find Sarah “to tell her we care, to tell her we have not forgotten”—and also to apologize. Gaspard had scoffed, saying that, as an American, Julia has nothing to apologize for. Julia clarifies: “Sorry for not knowing. Sorry for being forty-five years old and not knowing.”
This chapter is significant because it underscores the importance of being educated about historical events. Julia’s sense of guilt about “not knowing” is depicted as healthy rather than excessive, as other kinds of guilt in the novel are. This chapter suggests that educating oneself about the past is necessary to being whole as a person. For Julia, remedying her ignorance about the past seems to be a key ingredient in the journey to finding fulfillment at the midpoint of her life.