Paperback: 296 pages
Genre: Literary Fiction
Publisher: Penguin, Random House 6th September 2018
Source: LoveReading Consumer Reader Review Panel Member
First Sentence: I was taking a pee in the bathroom when I caught sight of myself in the mirror.
Favourite Quote: I believed in the impact of previous existences on every day I was alive; in more excited moments I came to think that the membrane of death was semi-permeable.
Review Quote: ‘The most impressive novelist of his generation’ Sunday Telegraph
Main Characters: Hannah and Tariq
Setting: Paris and Tangier
My Opinion: There is no doubt that Sebastian Faulks is a talented writer of literary fiction and I have at different levels enjoyed all the novels I have read by him. This one as the title Paris Echo hints at is full of the echoes of the history of Paris. The two main characters that meet quite by chance are from very different backgrounds, Hannah is an educated historian and aware young lady, whereas Tariq is her opposite a rather naive young man who knows nothing of the history of Paris. Immersing myself in their parallel stories was easy as through their voices and those of the people that Hannah was researching we learn how the dilemmas we live through reflect on our life choices. Recommended to anyone that is a fan of Sebastian Faulks writing or interested in history of the period as both people and place come alive as one reads.
I have read the majority of his novels, six of which I have previously reviewed, I am including the links to them for those of you that might be interested.
Devil May Care Engleby Human Traces A Week in December A Possible Life
Where My Heart Used To Beat
Précis Courtesy of Goodreads:
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 who were present under the German Occupation; in her desire to understand their lives and through them her own, she finds a city bursting with clues and connections. Out in the migrant suburbs, Tariq is searching for a mother 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 originality and a dark humour, Paris Echo asks how much we really need to know if we are to live a valuable life.
Video Trailer for 'Paris Echo' Courtesy of YouTube/Waterstones
Sebastian Charles Faulks CBE was born in Donnington, England on April 20th 1953 He is a novelist, journalist, and broadcaster who is best known for his historical novels set in France — The Girl at the Lion D'Or, Birdsong, and Charlotte Grey. He comes from an interesting family background as can be read in this biographical profile.
He is the son of Pamela (Lawless) and Peter Ronald Faulks, a Berkshire solicitor who later became a judge. He grew up in Newbury. His mother was both cultured and highly strung. She introduced him to reading and music at a young age. Her own mother, from whom she was estranged, had been an actress in repertory. His father was a company commander in the Duke of Wellington's Regiment, in which he served from 1939 to 1946. He saw action in Holland, France, Tunisia, Italy (at the Anzio landings), Syria and Palestine. He was wounded three times and awarded an immediate MC after an action against the Hermann Goering Parachute Troops in North Africa in 1942.
His maternal grandfather, Philip Henry Lawless, enlisted in the 1st Battalion, 28th county of London Regiment, otherwise known as The Artists' Rifles in 1914, and served in trench warfare on the Western Front until 1917, when he moved to the 26th Battalion Middlesex Regiment and finished the war in Salonika. He was decorated several times and received the Military Cross in 1918, the standard Victory Medal, the British War Medal and the 1914 Star. He eventually left the Army and returned to work as a wine merchant - his father's original occupation.
His paternal grandfather, Major James Faulks (Major was his name, not a military rank) was an accountant who had previously worked as a schoolmaster at a private boarding school in Tunbridge Wells, while Major's provisions merchant father, William Robert Faulks, supplied dairy products in late Victorian Paddington.
Faulks' father wanted him to become a diplomat. He claims his first ambition was to be a taxi driver until at the age of fifteen, while reading George Orwell, he decided to become a novelist instead. In fact, he is the only member of his paternal family not to be a lawyer; his father and uncle were judges and his brother Edward is a QC specialising in medical negligence.
Faulks was educated at the fee-charging Wellington College and studied English at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where he won an open exhibition and to which he was elected an honorary fellow in 2007. He took a teaching job at the Dwight-Franklin International School after university while also moving into journalism, becoming a features writer for the Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph, and was recruited by the Independent as Literary Editor in 1986. He became the Deputy Editor of the Independent on Sunday before leaving in 1991 to concentrate on writing. He has been a columnist for The Guardian (1992-8) and The Evening Standard (1997-9).
He continues to contribute articles and reviews to a number of newspapers and magazines and to broadcast regularly. He wrote and presented the Channel 4 series Churchill's Secret Army, about the wartime Special Operations Executive (SOE), screened in 1999. Faulks is a team captain on BBC Radio 4's literary quiz The Write Stuff.
Faulks lives with his wife, Veronica (formerly his assistant at The Independent), and their three children William, Holly and Arthur . He works from his study in a top floor flat of a house near Holland Park Avenue, ten minutes from his home, starting work at 10am and finishing at 6pm, regardless of whether he is writing a book or not.
He was appointed a CBE in the Birthday Honours List 2002 for "services to Literature" and he was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1994.
Faulks supports West Ham United. He writes about this in "Upton and Other Parks," a contribution to the 1990 football book Saturday's Boys.
An update of this Biography can be found on his Official Author Website
Photographs, Trailer and Biographical Information courtesy of the following sites.
Amazon Author Page Official Author Website Sebastian Faulks - Facebook Profile