Paris Echo
Here is Paris as you have never seen it before – a city in which every building seems to hold the echo of an unacknowledged past, the shadows of Vichy and Algeria.American postdoctoral researcher Hannah and runaway Moroccan teenager Tariq have little in common, yet both are susceptible to the daylight ghosts of Paris. Hannah listens to the extraordinary witness of women who were present under the German Occupation; in her desire to understand their lives and through them her own, she finds a city bursting with clues and connections. Out in the migrant suburbs, Tariq is searching for a mother he barely knew. For him, in his innocence, each boulevard, Métro station and street corner is a source of surprise.In this urgent and deeply moving novel, Faulks deals with questions of empire, grievance, and identity. With great originality and a dark humour, Paris Echo asks how much we really need to know if we are to live a valuable life.

Paris Echo Details

TitleParis Echo
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseSep 6th, 2018
PublisherHutchinson
ISBN-139781786330215
Rating
GenreFiction, Cultural, France, Historical, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Contemporary

Paris Echo Review

  • Paromjit
    January 1, 1970
    Sebastian Faulks gives us a novel focusing on two outsiders who arrive in Paris, American Hannah Kohler who returns to the city after 10 years when a love affair with a Russian poet, Aleksandr, broke her and from which she has never recovered and 19 year old Tariq Zafar from Morocco, who wants to know more about his dead French mother. Hannah is working on a project for her American professor who wants her to research a chapter for her book looking at the experience of French women under the Ger Sebastian Faulks gives us a novel focusing on two outsiders who arrive in Paris, American Hannah Kohler who returns to the city after 10 years when a love affair with a Russian poet, Aleksandr, broke her and from which she has never recovered and 19 year old Tariq Zafar from Morocco, who wants to know more about his dead French mother. Hannah is working on a project for her American professor who wants her to research a chapter for her book looking at the experience of French women under the German occupation between 1940-1944. Tariq, a vain, confident yet naive young man who has escaped home for the bright lights of Paris, the city is nothing as he expected. He secures a cash in hand job working for Hasim and Jamal, and ends up staying in the stern and serious Hannah's apartment. Surprisingly, the two of them begin to connect, Hannah because she comes to appreciate Tariq's perspective, his lack of knowledge about the past leaves him free and unburdened to live in the present and Tariq, helping Hannah on her project because of his better French, learns more about the history of Paris. His friend 'Victor Hugo' supplies the traumatic colonial history of France with North Africa and the dreadful period when so many Muslims were killed and so many bodies thrown into the River Seine. Hasim and Jamal provide a picture of the hatred many North Africans feel towards France, given the racism and brutal history of the country. The period Hannah is researching is a time when the French government were complicit with the Germans, implementing anti-Jewish measures, responsible for authorising the deportation of almost 80000 Jews to Auschwitz. A collective amnesia existed about what was done, with an unwillingness by the French to examine that time, and the aftermath where it was more important to maintain order than dispense justice. Hannah looks at and documents the testimony of several women from the period, becoming immersed in their lives. Tariq sees a woman, with a strong resemblance to a photograph Hannah has, and begins following her. Paris's war years history of women echoes down the years to Hannah and Tariq, conjoined with their personal histories. Hannah learns to live anew, recovering from her personal heartbreak and for Tariq it is a coming of age, as he forms a clearer identity of who he is and what he wants. Faulk's narrative feels uneven at times, with the second half of the novel much better than the first half. This is a novel that took its time to grow on me, I came to appreciate the differences in character and backgrounds of Hannah and Tariq, the value of their unexpected relationship in a story that I found atmospheric, complex and multilayered. Many thanks to Random House Cornerstone for an ARC.
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  • Roman Clodia
    January 1, 1970
    Hmm, that 'Echo' in the title feels well-placed as this book seems to me to be channelling too many previous books: how many times have we read of the PhD/postdoc researcher who is uncovering stories from the archive, for example? (And I do wish authors could get their facts straight: it's pretty much impossible for someone with a PhD to walk into a postdoc without competition and without having published anything). In this case, the tales of women in Occupied Paris seem lifted from other histor Hmm, that 'Echo' in the title feels well-placed as this book seems to me to be channelling too many previous books: how many times have we read of the PhD/postdoc researcher who is uncovering stories from the archive, for example? (And I do wish authors could get their facts straight: it's pretty much impossible for someone with a PhD to walk into a postdoc without competition and without having published anything). In this case, the tales of women in Occupied Paris seem lifted from other histories and seem especially familiar to anyone who has read Les Parisiennes: How the Women of Paris Lived, Loved and Died in the 1940s, for example. The second strand is more original in concept as Tariq, a young Moroccan man, comes to Paris to learn more about the life of his mother. Tariq's voice is vibrant and engaging but the parallels between Nazi Occupation and French colonialism are heavy-handed and unsubtle. There's also a clumsy device that draws both plots together as Hannah, the postdoc, finds a fevered homeless girl on her doorstop and without a moment's thought, takes her into her home and nurses her back to health. Now call me cynical, but I just don't believe that that's how we generally respond to the ill and destitute. Especially when this doesn't so much throw light on Hannah's character as serve to bring Tariq into her world - all too convenient. Overall, I found this a frustrating book because it could have been so much better than it actually is: the tepid romance between Hannah and Julian takes up too much page space, and the Occupation/imperialism theme feels rather shallow and done before. I failed to find the politics of our real world in this book.Thanks to Random House/Cornerstone for an ARC via NetGalley.
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  • Marjorie
    January 1, 1970
    Hannah is an American historian who is in Paris to do some research. She’s writing about the lives of women who were present in Paris during the German Occupation. She listens for hours to recordings these women made detailing what living in Paris was like at that time and how these women felt about the German soldiers. As she walks the streets of Paris, memories of her time there ten years before and the love affair she has never gotten over begin to haunt her. She’s also haunted by the ghosts Hannah is an American historian who is in Paris to do some research. She’s writing about the lives of women who were present in Paris during the German Occupation. She listens for hours to recordings these women made detailing what living in Paris was like at that time and how these women felt about the German soldiers. As she walks the streets of Paris, memories of her time there ten years before and the love affair she has never gotten over begin to haunt her. She’s also haunted by the ghosts of the Paris witnesses she’s listening to.She takes in a boarder, 19-year-old Tariq, who has run away from his home in Morocco. Tarij isn’t sure why he came to Paris, possibly to find answers to all of the questions he’s had about his long dead mother. Hannah and Tariq couldn’t be more different and yet they form a friendship. Tariq is ashamed that he knows so little history and learns that many North Africans hate France for its treatment of Muslims. One of his newly found “teachers” is a man who thinks he’s Victor Hugo, a homeless man who performs puppet shows in the subway for donations.This is a gorgeously written literary work, a slow-moving, thought-provoking book. There are several stories in this book, not only the stories of Hannah and Tariq but also of the women who witnessed Paris during the German Occupation, relating the atrocities committed, and real-life women such as Andree Borrel, a French heroine of World War II who was executed by the Germans. The ghosts of the past converge with those walking the streets of Paris in the present day and Paris’ history continues to echo into the future. This is a book that will linger long after the last page is read. Most highly recommended.This book was given to me by the publisher in return for an honest review.
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  • Gumble's Yard
    January 1, 1970
    Things you would learn from reading this book (many of which you may know, but some of which you may not):- Extensive detail about the Paris metro – the lines, stations (and the reasons for many of their names) and interchanges - Paris has many districts away from the main tourist areas, each with their own character- Paris was occupied in the Second World War, and the occupation (particularly when it looked like the Axis powers would win the war) created difficult choices for the locals, partic Things you would learn from reading this book (many of which you may know, but some of which you may not):- Extensive detail about the Paris metro – the lines, stations (and the reasons for many of their names) and interchanges - Paris has many districts away from the main tourist areas, each with their own character- Paris was occupied in the Second World War, and the occupation (particularly when it looked like the Axis powers would win the war) created difficult choices for the locals, particularly younger women, as to their attitude to the Germans- Some Frenchmen chose to actively collaborate with the occupying regime – both in Vichy France but also in Paris, including in the round up of Jews to meet imposed quotas- France has a colonial history – and one that in Algeria was far from glorious and which was made worse by its subsequent treatment of both the French descended settlers who returned and those Algerians who fought for the French- That the last two bullets were not unconnected - The spoken French language is difficult to understand for non-native speakers – both because of the speed at which the locals talk and the rather ridiculous number of homonyms. Did I know this by eye- no (see it even happens in English - who knew, that's new)- The author’s novels make rather too much use of coincidence- The author has rejected the “show not tell” mantra taught even to young children for their creative writing and replaced it with “show and tell and then repeat several times to be on the safe side”The author has clearly spent extensive time researching the above: the descriptions of Paris are evocative, although offset by a level of metro description that would imply membership of the line-basher sub-division of the trainspotting fraternity. Some of the wartime research is told directly in (invented) archive recordings of the voice of two women who lived through the Occupation – one of whom Hannah later meets as part of her research – and these parts are moving effective. However much of the rest of it is told by the expedient of having two visiting characters – one (Hannah) highly knowledgeable about the City for research and professional reasons and the other (Tariq) almost comically ignorant of Paris and history (not to mention mathematics, failing a calculation that my 10 year old worked out in a minute – albeit I am not convinced that the author has any stronger a grip – the book has completely wrong calculation by Hannah also). This set up gives extensive opportunities for exposition by dialogue, opportunities that the author has embraced with vigour. Perhaps the largest challenge that the author faced was how to interlink these two characters and their stories – a challenge that he sidestepped by a rather implausible set of early circumstances. Another key part of the book – one foreshadowed in two epigraphs and regularly through the book, is the idea of autoscopy and I found this the least convincing part of the book – the characters of Victor Hugo, Clemence and so on were far fetched. My favourite part of the book was Tariq – an unusual and different character.Overall this was an underwhelming book – more “Where My Heart Used to Beat” than “Engleby”.
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  • Jonathan Pool
    January 1, 1970
    This is Sebastian Faulks’s fourteen novel, he has been published continuously over thirty five years. So it’s probably unreasonable to expect very much that’s new from him, or unexpected. Staple Faulks subject matter encompasses Paris Echo, and the title of the book tells the reader to prepare for more settings viewed by an avowed Francophile. World War Two is revisited as Petain’s Vichy France is once again put under the microscope, and the acceptance, or collusion with German occupiers is scru This is Sebastian Faulks’s fourteen novel, he has been published continuously over thirty five years. So it’s probably unreasonable to expect very much that’s new from him, or unexpected. Staple Faulks subject matter encompasses Paris Echo, and the title of the book tells the reader to prepare for more settings viewed by an avowed Francophile. World War Two is revisited as Petain’s Vichy France is once again put under the microscope, and the acceptance, or collusion with German occupiers is scrutinised.Readers who have enjoyed Faulks hitherto with find much to like, as did I.There are two largely separate protagonists, Tariq Zafar and Hannah Kohler (an American). Tariq is a nineteen year old Algerian through whom Faulks examines, very successfully I thought, the real life and historical consequences of the murky French colonial past in Algeria.Hannah is ’earnest’ (Faulds’s description), and while only 31 years old, she carries emotional baggage so refreshingly absent in Tariq. Hannah’s personal relationships, with Alexandr and Englishman Julian Finch were the least convincing or interesting parts of the book in my opinion.In addition to Tariq’s street wise innocence, I found the jump back in time to (women) witness accounts of German occupation a fascinating element in Paris Echo. This is Faulks’s speciality- historical fiction that focuses particularly on the two world wars in Europe. The two, fictional, women (Juliette Lemaire and Mathilde Masson) are given wholly believable voices. Their everyday accounts of the realities of civilian life during war are juxtaposed with the factual references to Andree Borrel, to Maurice Papon, and in Algeria the Harkis. Infamous camps and detention centres at Drancy and Natzweiler. History surrounded by a fictional wrap- very effective.There’s no doubt that there’s an appetite among today’s generation to absorb the stories of war seventy five years ago.Paris in the c.21st century; the diverse metropolis of the banlieue, of the outer arrondissements; areas named after historical events and people, is superbly evoked. The chapter names tell the reader that there a Paris beyond the Champs- Elysee and Haussmann architecture. Belleville, Stalingrad, Sarajevo. A bigger Paris is well publicised by Faulks.Less successful, to my mind was Faulks’s digression into autoscopy, via the work of the poet Alfred de Musset. Some passages exploring an out of body experience, and a doppelgänger, Clemence, were rather shoe horned into the narrative, I thought.I had the chance to hear Sebastian Faulks on his promotional tour for Paris Echo. at the superb, intimate setting of Daunts Books (Marylebone High Street), interviewed by Alex Preston.Faulks is a suave, humorous raconteur. On Paris Echo:• Faulks wants to, and hopes he has, asked a lot of the reader. With four separate voices (Tariq, Hannah, Mathilde, Juliette)• In Tariq. Faulks sets out to give the reader a person they have not met before. Faulks despairs if the lazy writing that would preface a character with a preamble ‘he was the kind of man who...’ Too general, too bland.• Faulks set out deliberately to write about a different Paris. In 2016 he hired a guide and asked to be taken to places tourists don’t visit, and to places not previously visited by the guide.• Asked by Alex Preston if Tariq represented the younger Faulks (who spent three months in Paris at age 17), Faulks said that his experience was personally brutally educative. He watched films at the cinema, and had read the Cambridge University literature course pack!! In other words, the girls, the drugs, the rock ‘n roll eluded him.• The lessons of history. There was a much more serious side to Faulks on the subject of the importance of history, both in relation to Paris Echo, and as a concern of his through his works. Faulks sits on a committee commemorating Works War One. Will this be remembered in 100 years time? Should it be? If a young person lay beneath the Thiepval Memorial to the 70,000 missing and thought- it’s gone- would that be for the best? How much history do you need to know? Hannah in Paris Echo hasn’t looked after her own life because of always researching the past- as though she wants to redeem the lives of those who have gone before. Anyway, today’s young are educated differently and don’t read lots of books.This, deeper, reflective Faulks then talked about his other works of fiction, especially Engleby and A Week in DecemberA good book, not prize listed, prize winning, but a book for the internet age where the historical backdrop referenced by Faulks enables every reader to do their own research, be their own Hannah, if they wish to.
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  • Jackie Law
    January 1, 1970
    “Who cares about history?”“We weren’t remembering it anyway. We hadn’t been there – neither had our teachers, nor anyone else in the world – so we couldn’t remember it. What we were doing was imagining it…”The ideas at the heart of the Age of Enlightenment spread across Europe in the eighteenth century and are credited with inspiring the French Revolution. Paris became a centre of culture and growth that welcomed artists, philosophers, and also an influx of migrant workers. The twentieth century “Who cares about history?”“We weren’t remembering it anyway. We hadn’t been there – neither had our teachers, nor anyone else in the world – so we couldn’t remember it. What we were doing was imagining it…”The ideas at the heart of the Age of Enlightenment spread across Europe in the eighteenth century and are credited with inspiring the French Revolution. Paris became a centre of culture and growth that welcomed artists, philosophers, and also an influx of migrant workers. The twentieth century brought further war and division with violent conflict between Jews, Muslims and Christians. Internalised hatred between neighbours was unleashed.Paris Echo opens in contemporary times. It offers a view of the history of the city from the contrasting perspectives of two recent migrants.Tariq is a nineteen year old raised in Tangier, a shallow narcissist who cannot look at a female without undressing her in his mind. He is studying economics at college, a route to a better life in his father’s eyes. He has little interest in world affairs but is frustrated with his current life. He decides to escape to Paris where his late mother was born and raised. A non-practising Muslim, Tariq hopes to meet Christian girls who, unlike his female friends at home, behave as he has watched on American TV.Hannah is an American postdoc researcher returning to Paris after a decade. Her previous visit left her emotionally scarred but, as a historian, the city offers professional opportunities she is eager to utilise. Hannah’s association with Tariq is somewhat contrived but enables the author to construct a story from the points of view of the jaded academic and the naive young man.“You couldn’t know everything […] there were only degrees of ignorance.”Tariq secures a low paid job in a food outlet and, once he has landed decent accommodation (however unlikely this may appear), enjoys exploring the city. We see it through his eyes, especially the contrasts with his homeland. He encounters figures from the past and is intrigued. The timeframes are at times inexplicably fluid, history presented as pageant. Tariq’s story is a coming of age.“This was, so far as I knew, my first attempt at living on this planet and I was making the whole thing up as I went along.”Hannah spends her days researching the experiences of ordinary women during the German occupation of the Second World War. She listens to recorded accounts of their lives at the time, commenting:“contemporary witnesses seemed unaware of the meaning of what they’d lived through”This opinion, that it is historians who ascribe importance, suggests a lack of understanding of the impact of events on individuals and how each must somehow find a way to live with challenging memories.“this will never, ever go away. Not until every last person who lived through it is dead.”Hannah meets regularly with an English colleague she knew from her last visit to the city. He grows concerned at the impact the women’s testimonies are having on his friend as her empathy develops. Tariq, for all his insular concerns, can see more clearly yet is not taken seriously. Hannah continues to regard him as he was when they first met.One of Tariq’s co-workers hates the French for what they did to the Algerians during their battle for independence. Tariq’s lack of knowledge of historical events in Paris and the ripples these caused through time is gradually remedied.“What, really, is the difference between the commemoration of an atrocity and the perpetuation of a grievance?”The story is engaging and fluently written with some interesting insights into the conceits of intellectuals and how differing cultures disseminate history. Both Hannah and Tariq become more aware, especially of themselves. Paris, the sense of place, is appealingly presented.Although a pleasant enough read this book did not have the powerful impact of Birdsong or Engleby. I would say it is more akin to Charlotte Gray, On Green Dolphin Street or A Week in December. That it mostly avoids character clichés is a notable strength. Despite the occasional structural flaw it offers thoughtful perspectives.
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  • Kristi Schmitz
    January 1, 1970
    I am SO SO SO excited to talk about my most recent read, Paris Echo by Sebastian Faulks! I have to admit, apparently I've been living under a rock for some time because I was completely unfamiliar with Faulks, an incredibly successful and gifted (not to mention internationally bestselling) British author. Paris Echo is about an American scholar named Hannah who has returned to Paris, a city which has rendered her heartbroken and defeated in the past,  in order to continue her research on World W I am SO SO SO excited to talk about my most recent read, Paris Echo by Sebastian Faulks! I have to admit, apparently I've been living under a rock for some time because I was completely unfamiliar with Faulks, an incredibly successful and gifted (not to mention internationally bestselling) British author. Paris Echo is about an American scholar named Hannah who has returned to Paris, a city which has rendered her heartbroken and defeated in the past,  in order to continue her research on World War II. A chance encounter brings Hannah and a teenage Muslim boy together, and she invited him in as a lodger. Tariq is new to Paris, a city to him which represents adventure, freedom, and a chance to meet girls to sleep with (he is a teenager afterall, lol). He is driven, hopeful, and so full of undiminished aspiration that I couldn't help bust feel fondness for him immediately.The book switches back and forth between Tariq and Hannah's points of view, and I LOVED this because I felt like I was being a witness to two different Paris cities based on their encounters, opinions, and experiences. I also loved the history of women in German-occupied Paris and reading about their stories was deeply moving, and Hannah's quest to uncover a hidden piece of history was sooooooo good.Such a beautiful story of two people, who could not be more different but also so alike, with dreams, hopes, and a hunger for uncovering truth and discovering truth and justice....this is a book NOT TO BE MISSED. I just finished it and already want to read it again!5 out of 5 stars.Paris Echo by Sebastian Faulks will be published November 6th, 2018 so add it to your reading list today! Thanks to NetGalley and Henry Holt & Co. for the opportunity to read and review this beautiful, fascinating novel.
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  • Leah
    January 1, 1970
    Hidden histories...Two strangers in Paris for very different reasons meet, and through them the reader is taken to two important parts of France’s past – the Nazi occupation of France and France’s own colonial occupation of Algeria. Hannah is a post-doctoral student, in Paris to research a chapter for a book on women’s experiences during the Nazi occupation. Tariq is a 19-year-old from Morocco, who has left his comfortable home to try to find out more about his mother, a Frenchwoman who died whe Hidden histories...Two strangers in Paris for very different reasons meet, and through them the reader is taken to two important parts of France’s past – the Nazi occupation of France and France’s own colonial occupation of Algeria. Hannah is a post-doctoral student, in Paris to research a chapter for a book on women’s experiences during the Nazi occupation. Tariq is a 19-year-old from Morocco, who has left his comfortable home to try to find out more about his mother, a Frenchwoman who died when he was an infant. I have very mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, I knew very little about either of the parts of history Faulks discusses, and found them interesting and well written, with a feeling of having been well researched. On the other hand, the whole framing device of Hannah and Tariq and their experiences is completely unconvincing – so much so that I had to jump over an almost insurmountable credibility barrier before the book had got properly underway.I’ll get my criticisms out of the way first, then. Hannah has just arrived in Paris, on her own, when she comes across a homeless girl in the street, a complete stranger, who appears to be ill. So she takes her back to her flat, looks after her, leaves her there while she goes out to work and doesn’t mind when the girl moves a friend in – Tariq. Well, that’s all lovely, and nobody robs her or trashes the place and Tariq becomes the perfect lodger. But. Seriously? It simply would never happen, unless Hannah was nuts and we’re not led to believe that she is. Nor did I feel that a young man in Paris for the first adventure of his life would want to spend his time living with a thirty-something landlady. The other thing that jarred was Faulks attempt to bring a kind of ghostly vibe into the story, as each becomes consumed by the history they are researching. I could have accepted it if there were only one of them – one could have put it down to overwork, stress, over-active imagination, etc. But both beginning to see and hear people and events from the past? Partly my problem with this was that it reminded me a little of how Hari Kunzru brought the past into the present supernaturally in White Tears, and that comparison worked to Faulks’ disadvantage, since Kunzru did it so much more effectively.But once Faulks begins to let us hear the stories of the women during the Occupation, his storytelling rests on much firmer grounds. He does this by having Hannah listen to tapes made as a kind of living history project, when the women were elderly and looking back at their experiences. I found these stories compelling and often moving, and they carried me through my problems with the framing story. He is making the point that this is a period which France prefers not to examine too closely and tends to somewhat distort by suggesting that most people were either actively or passively resisting the Germans. Faulks suggests that in fact most people were willing to go along with whoever looked like they’d be the winner – their over-riding desire was to not have the same massive loss of life as in WW1 and they didn’t think much more deeply than that. It was only after the tide of war turned against Germany that women were vilified for associating with the German soldiers – Faulks suggests that before that it was commonplace and most people weren’t overly concerned about it.The other side of the historical aspect – France’s troubled relationship with Algeria – isn’t done quite so well, with an awful lot of info-dumping. However, since I didn’t know a lot of the info I still found it interesting reading. Faulks is obviously comparing the two episodes as opposite sides of occupation, but I felt that was a little simplistic. More interesting was the comparison of how both events are downplayed in France – a hidden past that, Faulks seems to be suggesting, must come fully into the light before France can reconcile itself with its own history and properly understand its present.I rather wish that, instead of having the present day framing and the double history, Faulks had simply taken us back to the days of the Occupation and told a straightforward story of the women caught up in events. Somehow, the art of plain storytelling seems to be considered old-fashioned at the moment, and books become unnecessarily complex as a result, laying themselves open, as this one does, to having parts that work and parts that don’t. Overall, the good outweighed the less good for me with this one, but I feel it could have been excellent had it been more simply told. Nevertheless, recommended.NB This book was provided for review by the publisher, Random House Cornerstone.www.fictionfanblog.wordpress.com
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  • Rob Twinem
    January 1, 1970
    Tariq Sandrine, a Moroccan teenager, has taken the decision to travel to Paris in part to discover something about his Parisian born mother...."Paris and its beauty, by its pavement cafes and its trees and bridges, by its cathedral floating on the stream and all the other charms to which no sane person could fail to respond"...... Hannah is in Paris as part of her studies; a thesis she is writing on the women of Paris during its occupation by the Germans in 1940-1944. When Tariq and Hannah meet Tariq Sandrine, a Moroccan teenager, has taken the decision to travel to Paris in part to discover something about his Parisian born mother...."Paris and its beauty, by its pavement cafes and its trees and bridges, by its cathedral floating on the stream and all the other charms to which no sane person could fail to respond"...... Hannah is in Paris as part of her studies; a thesis she is writing on the women of Paris during its occupation by the Germans in 1940-1944. When Tariq and Hannah meet by chance a strange alliance develops between them, a meeting of lost souls in a city with a troubled war history.Tariq finds employment in the guise of a fast food outlet where he is introduced to the joys of smoking hash and loose women. As a 19 year old and a late developer his part in Paris Echo is his coming of age. It is however the experiences of Hannah and her attempt to source surviving evidence either written or recorded that lends to Paris Echo a great sense of loss and hopelessness. She learns of the attitude of Parisian women to the German occupation and tearfully researches such brave resistance fighters as Andree Borrel, a young French woman trained by the Special Operations Executive (SOE) Through an act of betrayal Borrel is captured and sent to "Natzweiler" the only concentration camp ever built in France...."but when her turn came, Andree was still conscious and fought back, tearing flesh from the face of her murderer with her fingernails as he pushed her into the flames"....Fraternization, collaboration and betrayal was what defined Paris at this time..."the indifference of others; the racial hatred and propaganda and the deportations to the death camps"......This is a poignant sobering story blending historical fact into a modern setting. Two young people trying to interpret this business of living and their role within that. For Tariq it will mean friendship, manhood and winning the girl of his dreams. For Hannah true love has always been close but will she discover its tender touch before it disappears. Paris Echo is a story full of hope with a simple message that life is for the taking and only by action can we understand the true meaning of what it is to exist. Many thanks to the good people at netgalley for a gratis copy in exchange for an honest review and that is what I have written.
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  • switterbug (Betsey)
    January 1, 1970
    The City of Lights also has a dark history, and some of the effects of the past are illustrated within a fictional story in Faulks’ latest novel. It takes place largely during the contemporary years (circa 2006) and during the Occupation of France, specifically Paris and the Vichy government, during WW II. At that time, when Germany was in power, the French government cooperated with the Nazis, killing German enemies and rounding up Jews for deportation. The French Resistance was a brave and sub The City of Lights also has a dark history, and some of the effects of the past are illustrated within a fictional story in Faulks’ latest novel. It takes place largely during the contemporary years (circa 2006) and during the Occupation of France, specifically Paris and the Vichy government, during WW II. At that time, when Germany was in power, the French government cooperated with the Nazis, killing German enemies and rounding up Jews for deportation. The French Resistance was a brave and subversive organization, especially as the native French were in danger of being slaughtered by their own people if caught working against the Axis powers.There is also a murky past of Colonial Algeria, starting in the 19th century, which segued into the migrant movement of some Algerians to France. In this instance, instead of France being an auxiliary to another country (Germany), Algeria was an auxiliary to France under a variety of governmental systems, and bands of French-sanctioned Algerian groups, or Harkis, would kill their own people in submission to the French government. Eventually, there were uprisings of Muslim populations, fueled by the lack of autonomy, against the French people.I only include these (very simplistic) pieces of history because much of it is not only background and setting to PARIS ECHO, but, especially in the case of the Occupation in Paris, comes alive in vivid portrayals through the two protagonists. Hannah, a thirty-one-year-old American postdoc historian, returns to Paris for a second time, having left ten years ago after a failed love affair with a Russian playwright. She’s learned to subdue, even quell ideas of romance, in favor of immersing herself in history, a place she feels safely in control. But, when listening to 1998 recordings of Parisian women who lived in and witnessed the Occupation, she learns some horrifying information that threatens to undermine her emotional quiescence.Tariq, a nineteen-year-old Moroccan college student from Tangier, fluent in French but deficient in history, decides to run off to Paris to experience adventure. He had a romantic idea of Paris from movies and pictures he’d seen, but discovered that, for a poor black man in Paris, living the dream could be a nightmare. He was hoping to dig up some information on his half-French mother, who was raised in Paris. She died when Tariq was ten, before he could learn much about her past. Tariq has a talent for talking to anyone, and making friends easily, which eventually led him to Hannah. He soon became a lodger in Hannah’s apartment, and helps her with some tricky French translations in her research. While Hannah lives a circumscribed life in Paris, Tariq falls in love with the Metro, and becomes an adventurer, after all, riding almost all the lines and getting off on the most untouristy stops. He gets a job working at a fast-chicken eatery, and the Muslim immigrants he works with and an old man he meets on the metro become his best teachers of Algerian history.The narrative is slower paced than the satirical A WEEK IN DECEMBER, and the plot is generally thin. It’s told with an intellectual vibrancy, and the Paris streets and metro lines become almost a character in itself. Even the chapter headings are the names of metro lines. The energy in the novel turns primarily to theme—of identity; the tragic complicity of human life; forbearance; the search for love; and that history requires us to both remember and imagine. The ghosts of the past cross into the present and become Tariq’s personal Rubicon, when a photograph of an enigmatic and beautiful woman from the Resistance becomes transcendent and alive for him now. Faulks plays with history on several levels, achieving the idea that the past belongs to everyone, and we must come to terms with our own past, in order to move forward into the future.“I was bored…Who cares about history…? What’s the point of ‘remembering’ stuff that happened before you were born? We weren’t ‘remembering’ it, anyway. We hadn’t been there—neither had our teachers, nor anyone else in the world—so we couldn’t ‘remember’ it. What we were doing was ‘imagining’ it…And what was the point of that?” Tariq eventually confronts this in a most sublime way.As for Hannah, she must confront the sublimation of her past and stop living in the past if she wanted to engage actively with her life. In many ways, Hannah and Tariq assist each other to evolve. It’s a subtle and leisurely meander around Paris and history, one that winds around and occasionally forks, with a slow and heavy current and not a lot of noise. 3.5
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  • Lilisa
    January 1, 1970
    Echoes of the past embedded in the present…American researcher Hannah is focused on researching the work of women under German occupation during WW II and teenager Tariq has newly arrived from Morocco in search of a mother lost to him. They both connect and Tariq ends up as a lodger in Hannah’s apartment as she goes about earnestly tracking down the women she’s researching while her relationship with the older Julian is sort of kept at bay. Hannah and Tariq both in their own ways delve into echo Echoes of the past embedded in the present…American researcher Hannah is focused on researching the work of women under German occupation during WW II and teenager Tariq has newly arrived from Morocco in search of a mother lost to him. They both connect and Tariq ends up as a lodger in Hannah’s apartment as she goes about earnestly tracking down the women she’s researching while her relationship with the older Julian is sort of kept at bay. Hannah and Tariq both in their own ways delve into echoes of Paris’ past - German occupation of France and France’s indiscriminate and harsh treatment of Algerians. The storyline didn’t hold as well together as it could have. Besides, this was a first person narration and since the chapters weren’t annotated well and the story moved between Hannah and Tariq it was a bit disconcerting not knowing whose voice it was until a few sentences into the chapter. I was underwhelmed a bit by the language - for some reason I expected Sebastian Faulks’ writing to be masterful - I’m not sure why, except I’ve heard great things about Birdsong, which I haven’t yet read - this is my first Faulks. Overall, it was an okay read, but not quite what I expected - so a tad disappointed that it wasn’t a more brilliant read. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to review Paris Echo.
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  • Barbara
    January 1, 1970
    Another excellent book from one of my favourite authors. All his books are so different and in this one, set in Paris, he must have done some much research. The two main characters are Hannah, a postdoctoral researcher and Tariq, who has run away from Morocco and hoping to find his mother in Paris. It is intriging how their lives intertwine. So much in it that I need to read again!
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  • Cathy
    January 1, 1970
    Review to follow #HLF2018
  • Colin Marks
    January 1, 1970
    An odd quirk of fiction centred around a historical researcher where the prose bounces about in time, is that it doesn't feel like you're reading fiction. The modern day aspect feels like a plot device, and with the historical, is it fiction or non-fiction - you end unsure of what you're reading. The writing is very Sebastian Faulks - clean, crisp, and a master of his craft - but I felt the plot was a little wobbly. There were some nice ideas, but it felt like everything was a heavy-handed mecha An odd quirk of fiction centred around a historical researcher where the prose bounces about in time, is that it doesn't feel like you're reading fiction. The modern day aspect feels like a plot device, and with the historical, is it fiction or non-fiction - you end unsure of what you're reading. The writing is very Sebastian Faulks - clean, crisp, and a master of his craft - but I felt the plot was a little wobbly. There were some nice ideas, but it felt like everything was a heavy-handed mechanism to relate two acts of extreme violence where locals were complicit and saboteurs (German occupation of France and the Algerian conflict). Also, there was too much effort on wrapping up plot points and to make everything lovely at the end - the ending carried on several chapters more than necessary, and I found myself skimming much of the final sections. Still, a solid 4 for a decent holiday read.Book kindly supplied by Netgalley for an honest review.
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  • Sylvie
    January 1, 1970
    I came to this book full of expectations, after hearing Sebastian Faulks interviewed on the BBC. "Paris Echo" promised the elements that attract me. It is set in Paris, so it would have a French flavour. It touches on the Resistance, which was a strange time in France, and also the tangled colonial past. And it is set in the present. Curously, Faulks did not favour his bestseller Birdsong too much. This often happen when a writer can never get away from it in interviews. Faulks regretted that hi I came to this book full of expectations, after hearing Sebastian Faulks interviewed on the BBC. "Paris Echo" promised the elements that attract me. It is set in Paris, so it would have a French flavour. It touches on the Resistance, which was a strange time in France, and also the tangled colonial past. And it is set in the present. Curously, Faulks did not favour his bestseller Birdsong too much. This often happen when a writer can never get away from it in interviews. Faulks regretted that his treatment of the story in Birdsong was too direct, that as time went on he felt he could deal with things in a more nuanced way – this is the gist of what I came away with anyway. I have always considered Birdsong a great book, and his best. Now that I’ve read Paris Echo, I will venture to say that, however much he adores France and his French novels, I do not rate them highly. It is as if this love of his creates a blind spot when it comes to writing his stories, which leads him to fall into some degree of sentimentality . I think he it was who said something about writing fiction that has stayed with me after all those years (he is an excellent speaker and interviewee). He explained that the best way to avoid a script being sentimentalised is to ground it in real everyday stuff, in detail, in the concrete. That is why, in my view, the books of his which rely on detailed research work best, like "Human Traces". So that’s off my chest. Tariq is a Moroccan youth who dreams of Paris, where he hopes to cut a dash. He is full of admiration for his appearance when he looks in the mirror, and at first seems to be totally immersed in himself. It is understandable with someone that age. Paris is not what he expected – it is not waiting for him with open arms. In fact, he finds himself sharing a lift on a lorry with a homeless girl, Sandrine, whom he meets in a cafeteria. She takes him to cold and grotty places, and he finds a job in a cheap fast food restaurant. His thoughts as he prepares and sorts out the chicken legs are amusing. It is also interesting to hear the way the other two, the employer Hasim and Jamal his fellow worker who supplies him with "Kif", talk about France and the French, both driven by their ancestral hatred of the colonial French. Hannah has come to Paris from America for her postdoc research on women in Occupied France during the war. She is renting a nice apartment, and when she comes upon Sandrine in the street suffering from a fever, rescues and looks after her. She leaves her alone in her apartment the next day while she goes to do her postdoc research. I found that touching trust rather unconvincing. Sandrine brings Tariq to the flat, and after Sandrine's departure, Hannah agrees to give Tariq a chance to be her lodger for a limited period.The novel chases different themes which sound promising, such as * 1 (see note below) autoscopy, * 2 (note below) the pursuit of a mirage in the shape of someone one sees in an image; and testimonies of women who lived at the time of the Occupation, with their dilemmas, on audio tapes which Hannah listens to. These jostle around, without developing into satisfying narratives.The real merit of the novel lies in the realationship between 31 year old Hannah, highly educated and competent, and 19 year old Tariq, whose naivete and lack of historical knowledge eventually appeal to Hannah's didactic nature. He gradually moves from what Paris can do for him to a view of its past from Hannah; from the tramp-like puppeteer who calls himself "Victor Hugo"; and by questioning the meanings and origins behind the curious names of the metro stations, which are redolent of associations – He learns about Bir Hakeim station near the place Vel d’Hiv.( the Vel’ d’Hiv roundup was the mass arrest of Parisian Jews, carried out by the French police at the behest of the Nazis in 1942, temporarily confining them in the city’s velodrome, without food, water or effective sanitation, before conveying them to Auschwitz)Incidents of the past become vivid to him as he visits the places where they occurred. * 3 (note below) He is also apalled to learn of what happened by the beautiful and romantic Seine:(this is the Paris massacre of 1961, during which police threw pro-National Liberation Front demonstrators protesting the Algerian War to their deaths in the Seine )  * 1 Tariq sometimes experiences being outside hmself, observing his older face in a window. He could be said to have a very mild form of: “Autoscopy: the experience in which an individual perceives the surrounding environment from a different perspective, from a position outside of his or her own body] Autoscopy comes from the ancient Greek αὐτός ("self") and σκοπός ("watcher"). Autoscopy has been of interest to humankind from time immemorial and is abundant in the folklore, mythology, and spiritual narratives of most ancient and modern societies. Cases of autoscopy are commonly encountered in modern psychiatric practice.[According to neurological research, autoscopic experiences are hallucinations.* 2 The other vision he has is that of a girl he sees in the street, who bears an uncanny resemblance to a woman whose picture is in Hannah’s book. He fantasises about her, but the experience is lost in the narrative. It could derive from his wish to connect with a woman, coloured by visions of his Moroccan love, Laila. (this pursuit of a “vision” is dreamily and beautifully done in Madonna in a Fur Coat by Sabahattin Ali, with one difference - the woman in the picture here is in fact the woman the protagonist meets.)* 3 Evocative names and places filled with ghosts are very effective for creating atmosphere. See "The Book of Clouds" by Chloe Aridjis, set in Berlin.
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  • Joey
    January 1, 1970
    I have always had an adoration for the city of Paris. I am not sure if this is based upon the joyful experiences I have personally had there, or if I am somehow hooked on the perceived identify of a historic city that is ubiquitous in culture, art and good taste. Adoration of a place can destroy the pleasure of book set there if it isn’t done well. While Faulks makes some fleeting references to la tour Eiffel and the Louvre the depiction of Paris is mostly done by a network of street names and m I have always had an adoration for the city of Paris. I am not sure if this is based upon the joyful experiences I have personally had there, or if I am somehow hooked on the perceived identify of a historic city that is ubiquitous in culture, art and good taste. Adoration of a place can destroy the pleasure of book set there if it isn’t done well. While Faulks makes some fleeting references to la tour Eiffel and the Louvre the depiction of Paris is mostly done by a network of street names and metro stations; the descriptions of the city ring with pure affection, which seems wholly appropriate for a city entwined with the idea of love.Structurally, the novel goes back and forth between two protagonists; both representing different perceptions of the city and its history. The novel hits you over the head with this in an early chapter when an almost Woolfian encounter takes place and the reader is privy to a dual perception of the protagonists first meeting. The two characters continue to explore Paris, one starting off personal then becoming political; the other starting political then becoming personal—there are moments where the two figuratively swap places all together, Faulks achieves this in a masterfully subtle way.The internal journey of these two characters occurs with a relevant political history of each being played in the background. It is the moments when these histories come to the foreground and connect to the present that the novel is at its strongest and most poetic; the allure of the Parisian setting only adds to this, making the novel’s title extremely apt.In Hannah and Tariq, Faulks creates likable characters who grow as part of the city and the city’s history. For Tariq, this is a coming of age experience; for Hannah the outcome is a little more dire. She grows out of her feminist phase (see also: being a bitch) and realises true and temporary happiness is in the man she never really actually wanted in the first place; the novel leaves her naked in his apartment: how nice for him!Leaving my partial dissatisfaction with the ending aside; the novel is beautifully written and almost reads itself as you curve through the city both geographically and temporarily. It may not be in the same league as Birdsong, but it is certainly worth some time.
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  • Thebooktrail
    January 1, 1970
    Visit the locations in the novelThe story is separated into chapters each of them named after a metro station or area of the city. (It’s actually a really fun and quirky way of finding your way around as well) Paris is the city for reading its history through the names of its stations and streets. Some of them reveal historical battles, figures and a moment in time. Every one is a chapter in Tariq and Hannah’s stories.I found the characters of Tariq and Hannah to be very interesting in how they Visit the locations in the novelThe story is separated into chapters each of them named after a metro station or area of the city. (It’s actually a really fun and quirky way of finding your way around as well) Paris is the city for reading its history through the names of its stations and streets. Some of them reveal historical battles, figures and a moment in time. Every one is a chapter in Tariq and Hannah’s stories.I found the characters of Tariq and Hannah to be very interesting in how they give such unique viewpoints of a time and place, a setting and the people of the city over time.Both are outsiders but each wander the streets looking for something, answers, a history, a clue …..Two lost souls in a city lost to them.Hannah’s story looking into the women during the war and how they reacted to the German occupation was interesting. Often a part of history forgotten. There were some tough ‘scenes’ to read and it made me think of all those stories women never got to tell, that we still don’t know about.This was like a history lesson told via the metro stations with a good strong message. Two people wanting to find answers talk and help each other to form a bigger picture so they both find their own story. The city, and the past are full of surprises but it’s only by looking into the past and learning from it that we can really continue and move forward. How we deal with war, how we fall into the trap of following the crowd, drowning out individual voices, how war shapes a person…there’s lots in here to explore.It does read a bit heavy handed at times and doesn’t flow in parts. The story also sometimes
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  • Jane
    January 1, 1970
    was asked to review this by Lovereading.co.ukAfter reading about "Coco" Chanel and what she did to save her business during occupied Paris, this came at a good time to read this.I have been a fan of this author for sometime, so when this dropped through my letter box I was excited and now not disappointed. This was a great read.This is about the past and occupied Paris during the second world war, and the present. This is about people from the past and present.Tariq leaves is life in Algeria fo was asked to review this by Lovereading.co.ukAfter reading about "Coco" Chanel and what she did to save her business during occupied Paris, this came at a good time to read this.I have been a fan of this author for sometime, so when this dropped through my letter box I was excited and now not disappointed. This was a great read.This is about the past and occupied Paris during the second world war, and the present. This is about people from the past and present.Tariq leaves is life in Algeria for Paris to find meaning, a dead mother and adventure whilst Hannah an America researcher listens to the accounts of women under occupied Paris during the time of 1940-1944 for a project.Both Hannah and Tariq are two very different people with different pasts, relationships and problems who come together in an unusual circumstance with the story weaving from past to present. The author has researched the period of occupied France well and accurately accounts what took place during this period of time- as a woman what would you have done to save your life and no one knew just how this period of the war would end.The main themes within this story Nazi regime as well as the French against the Algerians in the 1960s - Which I was not familiar with but added to this story.I read this in one sitting only putting the book down at the end with a story that will linger for a long time and a Paris that I want to revisit again.Thank you Love Reading and the publishers for giving me this opportunity to review.
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  • Jill Westerman
    January 1, 1970
    Tariq, a young Moroccan, visits Paris hoping to learn more about his French grandmother, as well ast to see life beyond his family and friends. So this is in part a coming of age novel as he matures and learns a lot about himself as well as about Paris and its history. Meanwhile Hannah, an American researcher is in Paris to write a book about the lives of women working in the resistance in the war. These two characters come together in a somewhat unlikely way and Tariq ends up living in Hannah’s Tariq, a young Moroccan, visits Paris hoping to learn more about his French grandmother, as well ast to see life beyond his family and friends. So this is in part a coming of age novel as he matures and learns a lot about himself as well as about Paris and its history. Meanwhile Hannah, an American researcher is in Paris to write a book about the lives of women working in the resistance in the war. These two characters come together in a somewhat unlikely way and Tariq ends up living in Hannah’s flat. The narration shifts between them as well as the voices of the elderly women Hannah interviews about their wartime experiences. I have mixed feelings about this novel. As you’d expect from Faulks it is well-written with a good plot and is engaging. But some of the narrative shifts didn’t work so well, there was little to distinguish between the language used by the different narrators. The core themes are around horrors and injustices – committed by the Nazis, as well as the French against the Algerians in the 1960s and how people react either by ignoring what is or has happened or by holding onto injustice for many years and seeking vengeance. As readers we learn about these as Hannah does her research and Tariq learns about Paris, but they did sometimes feel clumsy – an add on rather than emerging naturally from the narrative. The love stories along the way were satisfying, and there was also a question about endings/beginnings or if both are an illusion. So worth a read, but not 5 stars for me at least. Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a review copy.
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  • Lorri
    January 1, 1970
    The past echoes into the future in this novel, as two individuals come together, and find the truth of their dreams isn't what they expected.. Tariq, a Moroccan teenager, makes his way to Paris, hoping to forge a new life. His coming-of-age journey alters his visions, of the city, and his realization of its dark history comes to the forefront of his plans. Hannah, an American historian, is there for a different reason. She is researching the lives of women during WWII, during the German occupati The past echoes into the future in this novel, as two individuals come together, and find the truth of their dreams isn't what they expected.. Tariq, a Moroccan teenager, makes his way to Paris, hoping to forge a new life. His coming-of-age journey alters his visions, of the city, and his realization of its dark history comes to the forefront of his plans. Hannah, an American historian, is there for a different reason. She is researching the lives of women during WWII, during the German occupation of Paris.Two lives, that seem so contrary to each other are actually illuminated in their sameness, due to the secrets of the past. The past is brought to life through their interactions with each other, and through the city, itself. Surprises echo both silently and loudly, resounding in an intense story line.I am a huge fan of Sebastian Faulks, and Paris Echo did not disappoint me.Thank you to LibraryThing Early Reviewers for the Advanced Reader's Copy.
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  • Claire
    January 1, 1970
    In the multi-layered Paris Echoes, the reader is immersed in the lives of past and present generations, their intersection aided by the visual spectacle of a storied City of Lights, redolent with the life of its occupants. Temporary residents, Hannah and Tariq, participate in and touch the lives of lifelong inhabitants in ways both nostalgic and new. Faulkes’ fine hand on the historical memory of world wars is strong and sure, his characters either absorbed in or indifferent to the past. The myt In the multi-layered Paris Echoes, the reader is immersed in the lives of past and present generations, their intersection aided by the visual spectacle of a storied City of Lights, redolent with the life of its occupants. Temporary residents, Hannah and Tariq, participate in and touch the lives of lifelong inhabitants in ways both nostalgic and new. Faulkes’ fine hand on the historical memory of world wars is strong and sure, his characters either absorbed in or indifferent to the past. The mythic story of Echo is a poetic silent partner in the story of two souls who don’t know they have lost their way. For readers with a love of history and an open mind to the considerable contrasting views of contemporary life, the novel introduces us to multiple of ways of constructing a life with purpose and suggests to the reader why doing so is redemptive. A good choice for book groups that enjoy delving below a surface reading of a novel.
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  • Spectre
    January 1, 1970
    Paris Echo is the story of two people looking to discover the “secrets” of their past in order to understand and resolve their present-day inner conflicts. A young man leaves his Algerian life for Paris in his search for adventure, meaning, and love while a middle-aged American woman revisits the City of Light to study the lives of Parisian women during World War II. Set both in the past and the present, Faulks weaves a historically accurate picture of French behavior during the World War and th Paris Echo is the story of two people looking to discover the “secrets” of their past in order to understand and resolve their present-day inner conflicts. A young man leaves his Algerian life for Paris in his search for adventure, meaning, and love while a middle-aged American woman revisits the City of Light to study the lives of Parisian women during World War II. Set both in the past and the present, Faulks weaves a historically accurate picture of French behavior during the World War and the subsequent Algerian War. As Tarik and Hannah’s personal relationship grows, so does their understanding and acceptance of themselves and their personal histories which leads to the story’s masterful conclusions. (This was an Advanced Reading Copy compliments of BookBrowse.)
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  • Adam
    January 1, 1970
    Bought this in Shakespeare & Co. in Paris - probably the best place it could possibly be acquired. Weaves together the areas of history Faulks has made his territory - The Great War and its aftermath, the Second World War in France - with an affectionate topography of underground Paris and a romantic connection, into an enjoyable and illuminating confection like a Gobelins tapestry. More a good read than great literature.
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  • Lauren
    January 1, 1970
    I have never been able to get through a Sebastian Faulks novel but I really wanted to give this one a try as I received it from the Library Thing Early Reviewers program. But I found it derivative and far fetched and just a little insulting. The parallels between the Occupation/Imperialism was heavy handed, the romance tepid and too many unbelievable moments - as a single woman, would you take in an ill homeless person perched on your doorstep? do unpublished grad students get post-docs in Paris I have never been able to get through a Sebastian Faulks novel but I really wanted to give this one a try as I received it from the Library Thing Early Reviewers program. But I found it derivative and far fetched and just a little insulting. The parallels between the Occupation/Imperialism was heavy handed, the romance tepid and too many unbelievable moments - as a single woman, would you take in an ill homeless person perched on your doorstep? do unpublished grad students get post-docs in Paris? Also, I found the other worldly- ghost memory- time slipping bits to be more decoration than device. I was mostly frustrated, glad it was short, and released from reading other novels by him. Still, thank you Library Thing for the opportunity.
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  • Michael Kott
    January 1, 1970
    Okay, I'm not going over the premise as that's done in every review and shouldn't be. I really was disappointed in this read for several reasons. I thought the author was trying to impress the reader with his knowledge of French streets and train stops. The constant intro of new street names was numbing. I mean who cares? I thought many little'instances' were staged for the book and irrelevant to the story, like Tariq taking money back for someone in Algeria. That entire scene's purpose is never Okay, I'm not going over the premise as that's done in every review and shouldn't be. I really was disappointed in this read for several reasons. I thought the author was trying to impress the reader with his knowledge of French streets and train stops. The constant intro of new street names was numbing. I mean who cares? I thought many little'instances' were staged for the book and irrelevant to the story, like Tariq taking money back for someone in Algeria. That entire scene's purpose is never explained and seemed inserted to take up space. The entire story seemed contrived and meant to draw parallels between France's actions in WWII and their colonialism in Algeria. I was very disappointed in the ending. Others may enjoy this book, in the end I did not.
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  • Melise Gerber
    January 1, 1970
    I read an advanced reading copy from Henry Holt & Company via NetGalley. Thanks!This was a lovely read. The story switches between a scholar who is visiting Paris to study oral histories of women who lived in the city during the Occupation, and a young Morrocan man visiting the city to learn more about his own personal history. The paths of these two characters overlap, and each provides insight and knowledge the other lacks. The characters are well-drawn and engaging, and the historic eleme I read an advanced reading copy from Henry Holt & Company via NetGalley. Thanks!This was a lovely read. The story switches between a scholar who is visiting Paris to study oral histories of women who lived in the city during the Occupation, and a young Morrocan man visiting the city to learn more about his own personal history. The paths of these two characters overlap, and each provides insight and knowledge the other lacks. The characters are well-drawn and engaging, and the historic elements told a story of life in Paris that I had not heard before. I highly recommend this novel.
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  • Caroline
    January 1, 1970
    This is such a good book; the characters are rounded and realistic. The history of Paris addressed is unflinching, but not preachy, and is relevant to the story, not shoe-horned in. The characters from the past are as 3D as those from the present.The language is descriptive and pleasing without seeming over-laboured. It has a satisfying ending. Paris itself is described in all its detail with warmth and affection.
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  • Michael Cayley
    January 1, 1970
    A disappointment, which I think does not work as a novel.There are two main characters, a Moroccan youth who makes his way to Paris, and an American academic who is still suffering from a relationship that ended several years previously, and who is in Paris to research the experience of Parisian women under the German occupation during WW2.Part of the novel consists of transcripts of fictional interviews with WW2 survivors. The Paris metro features largely, including in chapter headings, especia A disappointment, which I think does not work as a novel.There are two main characters, a Moroccan youth who makes his way to Paris, and an American academic who is still suffering from a relationship that ended several years previously, and who is in Paris to research the experience of Parisian women under the German occupation during WW2.Part of the novel consists of transcripts of fictional interviews with WW2 survivors. The Paris metro features largely, including in chapter headings, especially with the use of names of stations that refer to WW2, but this use of the metro seemed an artificial device. There is a hammering home of parallels between Paris under the Germans and the atrocities, on both sides, in Algeria and in Paris of the Algerian War of independence.I found neither of the main characters particularly engaging - I felt detached from both of them throughout. And the novel seemed too overflowing with factoid dumping.With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for letting me have an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Shirley
    January 1, 1970
    I am always excited to read a new Sebastian Faulks book. The style of writing in this Parisian tale did not disappoint but, for me, this time the characters and plot just did not work.Hannah is an American writer, returning to Paris after a failed love affair ten years previously. She comes to investigate the oral histories of Parisian women during the Occupation years in WW2. She offers overnight shelter to a young girl sheltering on the streets who brings along a young friend, Tariq, who is vi I am always excited to read a new Sebastian Faulks book. The style of writing in this Parisian tale did not disappoint but, for me, this time the characters and plot just did not work.Hannah is an American writer, returning to Paris after a failed love affair ten years previously. She comes to investigate the oral histories of Parisian women during the Occupation years in WW2. She offers overnight shelter to a young girl sheltering on the streets who brings along a young friend, Tariq, who is visiting Paris from Morocco in order to find out more about his mother.Tariq and Hannah develop a gentle relationship where Tariq can help translate in return for lodgings.I found much of the historical content really interesting, but the actions of the characters just did not feel very believable. As a whole, the book felt quite unfinished, with some parts needing fleshing out and further explanation.A bit of a disappointment, but it won’t stop me looking forward to Faulks’s next book.Many thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an ARC of the book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Melissa
    January 1, 1970
    This was ok - but I didn't love it, the way I have with previous titles by Sebastian Faulks.I also wanted to find out more about the historical aspects / characters; and found the random placement of modern characters (like the sick girl) a bit jarring, and not seemingly relevant to a lot of the rest of the story. And the hand-over back in Algeria - what was that even for? This section just had no relevance.Basically; I found some bits interesting, but didn't find the story worked in the real wo This was ok - but I didn't love it, the way I have with previous titles by Sebastian Faulks.I also wanted to find out more about the historical aspects / characters; and found the random placement of modern characters (like the sick girl) a bit jarring, and not seemingly relevant to a lot of the rest of the story. And the hand-over back in Algeria - what was that even for? This section just had no relevance.Basically; I found some bits interesting, but didn't find the story worked in the real world it was set.
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