Paris Echo by Sebastian Faulks
Book Review: 5 out of 5 star rating
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.