Saturday 16 October 2021

Paris Echo

Finished October 14
Paris Echo by Sebastian Faulks

This novel is haunted by the past but set in present-day Paris. Hannah is an American graduate student, in Paris to do research on women living in occupied Paris for a paper she is writing. She is haunted by the memories of her earlier time in Paris when she fell in love and then had the relationship end. She is also haunted by the stories of the women whose stories she finds. Listening to the recorded voices of the women, collected by a small archive in the city, she finds some hopeful, some sad, and some full of anger. Early in her stay, she finds a young woman on the street, cold and tired. She takes her in, letting her stay in the small second bedroom in her rented apartment. The next day, she finds a young man Tariq has also arrived in her flat, a friend of the woman, and she soon agrees to let him stay there.
Tariq is nineteen and from Morocco. He has come to Paris partly to escape his life there, and partly to see the city that his mother, long dead, was from, and maybe learn about her. Tariq is an open young man, who quickly finds a job, and begins exploring the city. He takes on some of the stories that Hannah is researching and connects them to people he sees in the streets. He also learns more about French history and the people of this country, from many angles. 
Hannah has also reconnected with a professor from her earlier time, an Englishman named Julian and finds herself confiding in him and bouncing ideas off of him. He too finds himself drawn into her research, looking up information on that time in history, and making connections for her. 
As the characters grow closer to each other and learn more about the city, its past, and themselves, they also find new paths forward for themselves.
I really enjoy Faulks writing and this book is one I highly recommend.

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