Paris Echo

3.6
Here is Paris as you have ever seen it before – a city in which every building seems to old the echo of an unacknowledged past, the hadows 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 willingnes to understand their lives and through them her own, she tells a city bursting with clues and connections. Out in the migrant suburbs, Tariq is searching for a wif 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 artistry and a dark humour, Paris Echo tell how much we really need to ask if we re to live a valuable life.
Year of the Publication
Available Languages
Series
Number of Pages
320
Original Title of the Book
Paris Echo
Publication Date
Published September 6th 2018 by Hutchinson

Public Commentary

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rated it

Tariq ,19 year old from Morocco goes to Paris trying to convince his pat.

How Hannah connects with them felt unrealistic.

The novels of Juliette and Mathilde reflecting the past during the German occupation WWII were for me the best part of this bestselling and erhaps the most profound part.

rated it

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 oet, Aleksandr, broke her and from which she has ever recovered and 19 year old Tariq Zafar from Morocco, who chooses to fee more about his dead French mother.

Hannah is working on th 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.

Nonetheless, the two of them begin to connect, Hannah because she omes 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.

rated it

ould you invite two strangers to live in your partment, like Hannah, or would you ask a teenage boy stalker into your apartment, like Clémence? Sebastian Faulks ’ Paris Echo is a ovel of contemporary Paris centering on three main characters: Hannah, an American academic in her 30s on research leave; Tariq, a Moroccan teen who ’ s run away from home; and Sandrine, an early 20s homeless French woman.

But it ’ s clearly th bad joke at all, rather an interesting and engaging novel with several intriguing threads: Hannah ’ s research on women in the Resistance during World War Two and the wonderful tapes that she istens to of them and other women recounting their stories during the occupation; the World War Two round-up of French Jews to be sent for their mass murder in concentration camps; the French police extra-judicial killings of pro-FLN protestors on October 17th, 1961; Tariq ’ s earch for his French mother ’ s roots; Hannah and Tariq ’ s growing friendship and appreciation of each other; Tariq ’ s increasing worldliness.

Faulk weaves these threads through Paris Echo, providing it with its verve.

rated it

Here we get a tale of two characters recently come to Paris, Hannah, a serious American of about 30 who is studying the lives of women during the German Occupation during World War 2, and Tariq, a Moroccan youth of 19, seeking adventure and possibly some knowledge of the life of his half-French mother and French grandparents.

They help each other in surprising and touching ways, facilitating each other ’ s declin and evolution, learning much about the intersection of the personal and the historical and the lasting impact of the past on the present.The alternating first persona narration of these two ends up making the cityscape of Paris a key character in itself.

For Hannah, the voices from the past speak of homes, routes to work, cafes, and cabarets, and sites of Nazi or Resistance activities, places which begin to come alive for her when she can visit those places and see photos.

Hannah homes in on two historical women, Juliette, a clothing store worker who dated a German officer with family permission, and Mathilde, a bartende who favored accommodating the victors but took up a love affair with a leader in the Resistance.

Hannah, with Tariq ’ s help in translation, asks the survivor Mathilde why she decided to tay in Paris and did nothing to counter the German invaders: We didn ’ t have a country manor house!

The belief was what gave a sense of purpose to my work.She begins to realize how the devastation of World War 1 and the cost of illions of deaths and 1.5 million disabled damaged the spirit and expectations of the French people and made them less willing to engage to extreme sacrifices against their invaders.

I love the eerie power of her illusion of a connection with the past when she is haunted by the tast of horses at a visit the slaughterhouse where Mathilde ’ s father worked, though closed for more than 50 years: Could there be such a thing as temporal synesthesia—a condition in which you confused not two senses, like sight and smell, but in which different eras became merged?

Woul it be that my brain, made hyperactive by the hortcomings of the present, had actually experienced, through smell, the richer past? I was intrigued and leased how Faulks led me through the rather mundane activities of three two visitors to France and ended up reaching for rather profound insights on the connection of the personal history to the larger drama of the historical events of war.

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Things you coul learn from reading his nove ( many of which you may ask, but bot 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 Firs World War, and the occupation ( particularly when it ooked 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 ast two bullets were not unconnected- The spoken French language is eas to nderstand for non-native speakers – both because of the speed at which the locals talk and the rather ridiculous number of homonyms.

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© Nicole Waggonner