“Cunningly crafted. . . . France’s unquiet histories are brought to life by a master storyteller.” —Financial Times (UK)
A story of resistance, complicity, and an unlikely, transformative friendship, set in Paris, from internationally bestselling novelist Sebastian Faulks.
American historian Hannah intends to immerse herself in World War II research in Paris, wary of paying much attention to the city where a youthful misadventure once left her dejected. But a chance encounter with Tariq, a Moroccan teenager whose visions of the City of Lights as a world of opportunity and rebirth starkly contrast with her own, disrupts her plan.
Hannah agrees to take Tariq in as a lodger, forming an unexpected connection with the young man. Yet as Tariq begins to assimilate into the country he risked his life to enter, he realizes that its dark past and current ills are far more complicated than he’d anticipated. And Hannah, diving deeper into her work on women’s lives in Nazi-occupied Paris, uncovers a shocking piece of history that threatens to dismantle her core beliefs. Soon they each must question which sacrifices are worth their happiness and what, if anything, the tumultuous past century can teach them about the future.
From the sweltering streets of Tangier to deep beneath Paris via the Metro, from the affecting recorded accounts of women in German-occupied France and into the future through our hopes for these characters, Paris Echo offers a tough and poignant story of injustices and dreams.
Faulks (A Week in December) immerses readers into a haunted Paris through the exhilarating stories of a teenage Moroccan immigrant and an American historian researching the experiences of women during the German occupation of WWII. Hannah spent a lonely year abroad as a college student in Paris, and as she reconnects to the city and her past two decades later she becomes overwhelmed by the combined despair of her subjects and her own lonely life. Meanwhile, Tariq, a 19-year-old runaway from Morocco, wants to live in Paris like his mother, who was born there and died when he was a young boy. A mutual friend introduces Tariq to Hannah, and she agrees to take him on as boarder. While Hannah listens to the voices of Parisian women through historic recordings that she struggles to understand, Tariq explores Paris and picks up part-time jobs around the Muslim district. One of his employers, an Algerian man, speaks with unschooled Tariq about the French-Algerian War, explaining how Tariq's half-Algerian mother's life fits in within the bloody history. As Tariq and Hannah become closer, he helps her translate the French witness testimonies, slowly creating a dependency and bond as the translation work becomes more involved. As the atrocities of war are unearthed, Hannah and Tariq both must reconsider their beliefs about democracy and the role of Paris within the war. Fans of Paula McClain and Ian McEwan will enjoy Faulks's touching tale of two Parisian visitors looking to reimagine their self-identities in a changing world.