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Paris Echo

3.50  ·  Rating details ·  3,966 ratings  ·  529 reviews
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 wh
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published September 6th 2018 by Hutchinson
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Average rating 3.50  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,966 ratings  ·  529 reviews

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Aug 13, 2018 rated it really liked 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 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 ...more
Angela M
I’m right down the middle on this one, so I’m giving it three stars. There were certainly things I liked about it, but there were some things that didn’t work for me. The narrative alternates between two characters who are very different, yet alike in some ways. Their paths cross in Paris while they are on journeys of self discovery and a friendship evolves. While they do connect, I had a problem connecting with them and felt removed from them for some reason I find difficult to pinpoint. Hannah ...more
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
4 stars to this story of unlikely friendship! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Hannah is an American historian, and she’s studying World War II in Paris (sounds like something I’d love to do!). She harbors some resentment towards the City of Lights due to something in her past when she was younger.

Hannah meets Tariq, a Moroccan teenager, who sees Paris as a land of opportunity in stark contrast to his own he is fleeing. In need of a place to stay, he ends up boarding with Hannah. Both Hannah and Tariq are very much
Roman Clodia
Jul 13, 2018 rated it it was ok
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 ...more
Nov 29, 2018 rated it it was ok
I had to stop and check whilst reading this book, to check that it was really written by Sebastian Faulks, the author of the wonderful book "Birdsong" To me, this just didn't feel like his style of writing. It was just a tedious mess of an apparent dreary romance, crossed with a nineteen year old man that became homeless, that seemed to be on a constant quest to have sex. To learn that he had an erection every chapter did absolutely nothing for the story. If anything, it make it kind of lame.
This is lighter and less dramatic than Faulks’ rather grim but magnificent magnum opus “Birdsong”, about a Brit’s life shaped by fighting in the trenches of World War 1. 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. Sh ...more
Aug 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: librarything
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 ...more
Dec 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Where’s Sandrine? What happened to Clémence? How did Hannah score that fabulous Paris apartment on an academic’s salary, and who’s her rental agent? Would you invite two strangers to live in your apartment, like Hannah, or would you ask a teenage boy stalker into your apartment, like Clémence?

Sebastian Faulks’ Paris Echo is a novel 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;
Jonathan Pool
Sep 14, 2018 rated it really liked it

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
Gumble's Yard
Sep 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2018
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
Oct 11, 2018 rated it really liked it

Visit the locations in the novel

The 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
Nov 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: giveaways
PARIS ECHO, by Sebastian Faulks, was an interesting (if not sometimes stuttering) book to read.

Our story is told through the eyes of two main characters--Hannah, an American postdoctoral researcher in Paris to investigate the lives of women who experienced German Occupation from 1940 to 1944; and, Tariq, a bored and flighty 19 year-old of French-Algerian escaping school and life in Tangier to discover his dead mother's birthplace. Once their paths cross, we alternate between Hannah and Tariq's v
Dec 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Paris Echo is the latest historical fiction novel by one of my favorite British authors, Sebastian Faulks. This lovely book alternately tells the story of American historian Hannah Koehler, who has come to Paris to research women taking part in the French Resistance during World War II and the Nazi occupation of Paris, and that of Tariq, a young teenager who has fled his home in Morocco to come to the City of Light to see if he can learn more about his deceased Algerian mother from Paris. As the ...more
Rating: 3 stars (Rounded up from 2.5)

This book wasn’t what I expected from Sebastian Faulks. It was a bit all over the board as to what type of genre it's meant to be. There is some contemporary fiction, historical fiction, and magical realism in this book. These genres sometimes worked well together, but sometimes they were dissonant, and it took me a bit of work to figure out what was going on.

In modern-day Paris, the stories of Hannah; an American post-doctoral researcher, and Tariq; a ninet
Sep 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Paris Echo is one of those books where, whilst recognising the skill of the author and the quality of the writing, I found myself wondering if I was quite clever enough to understand everything the author was trying to communicate. It’s partly for that reason that I’m only now writing this review although I read the book some weeks ago…

The book explores a number of themes including abstruse (to me, at least) concepts such as ‘autoscopy’, the sense of being outside yourself and seeing yourself as
Jackie Law
Sep 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
“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
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
Kristi Schmitz
Jul 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Benjamin baschinsky
Jul 11, 2020 rated it it was ok
I have read of Mr Faulks books and rarely have been disappointed.
Paris Echo started with an original concept , a woman is writing a chapter on French women under the occupation and arrived in Paris.
Simultaneously a boy arrives in the City of Light seeking excitement and glory .
They meet thru circumstance .
For me the story takes some turns but overall fails to thrill me.
Mar 11, 2019 rated it really liked it

I liked this book. Hannah, a 30 something American woman researching the role of women during WWII, and Tajik, a 19 year old Moroccan young man searching for information on his Parisian mother, share an apartment through odd circumstances in Paris. Both learn a lot about the history of France and about themselves.

Not a lot of answers here, more a free flow of events. But it sure feels like Paris comes alive through this eclectically nice story. A lot of good historical information in h
Rob Twinem
Jul 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Catherine Davison
May 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
I think Faulks has overstretched himself here, there is too much going on. The main present day characters are too one dimensional and underdeveloped. At times I wondered whether Tariq and Hannah were merely there to serve as techniques to carry forward the more believable and far more interesting stories of the Parisian women whose lives under the occupation Hannah was researching.
Those stories of the wartime women and their families and travails were the real echoes: echoes of Faulks' earlier
switterbug (Betsey)
Aug 17, 2018 rated it liked it
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 ...more
Mairead Hearne (
My Rating 3.5*

‘How much do we really need to know if we are to live a valuable life’

Paris Echo is a book that I have been looking forward to reading, as I am a long time fan of Sebastian Faulks. Having loved the French Trilogy, Birdsong has always been one of my top reads ever. I’m always hesitant in picking up a new release from any author I admire, as my expectations are always quite high. So what did I think….

Paris Echo tells the story of two lost souls looking to the past in an attempt to mo
Nov 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Two narrators take us on a visit to Paris, both of them outsiders. It is an easy job to experience the city through the eyes of Tariq, a young man from Morocco on a mission to connect with the French roots of his dead mother. Our other older narrator, Hannah, is American, gathering research for publication in a journal covering experiences of French women during the German occupation of Paris.
Tariq is guided toward lodging with Hannah by another outsider he teams up with on his journey to Paris
Alison Hardtmann
Dec 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-library
I have enjoyed every single book by Sebastian Faulks that I have read, and loved On Green Dolphin Street so much, so my reluctance to read Paris Echo makes no sense at all, except that the bare outline of the description made me nervous. Hannah, an American post-doc, comes to Paris ten years after her last stay, to do research into the lives of ordinary Parisian women during the Second World War. Tariq is an Algerian teenager who, through a series of events, ends up as a lodger of sorts in her s ...more
Amy Plum
I went to a talk / signing by this author at the American Library of Paris. He sounded interesting, so I bought the book. Really enjoyed it, especially the time jumps. Not sure if it goes so far as to be called magical realism, but introducing figures from Paris's past to this tabula rasa of a young immigrant was masterful. Recommended!
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Novel set in PARIS, past and present.....

Sebastian Faulks, renowned Francophile, sets his new novel in Paris and his affection for and knowledge of that city is apparent in every page. Paris Echo gives us a detailed look at Paris today – not the city that the tourists see but rather what lies behind that glamorous façade for this is the Paris of migrant workers and lost souls. So vivid is the description of travelling around Paris by metro that the novel could well serve as a sort of tourist gui
Oct 08, 2018 rated it liked it
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 ...more
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 ...more
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Sebastian Faulks was born in 1953, and grew up in Newbury, the son of a judge and a repertory actress. He attended Wellington College and studied at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, although he didn’t enjoy attending either institution. Cambridge in the 70s was still quite male-dominated, and he says that you had to cycle about 5 miles to meet a girl. He was the first literary editor of “The Independe ...more

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