Paris Echo
Nov. 2018. 272p. ISBN 9781250305657. $27; ebk. ISBN 9781250305640. F

Newcomers to Paris, Tariq, a Moroccan student looking for clues to his French mother’s past, and Hannah, a post-doctoral researcher, writing about the role of French women during the German occupation, are an unlikely pairing. But when Hannah allows Tariq a bed in the storeroom of her rental flat, the connection proves advantageous to both of them. Tariq, working under the table at a sketchy chicken joint, is grateful for the cheap and cheerful accommodations. For her part, Hannah is happy to have Tariq’s help with translating testimony and interviews. Their time together is an education for Tariq whose knowledge of history is pitiful (he is unaware of the significance of the Charles de Gaulle metro stop). In turn, Tariq acts as a go-between for Hannah and an old colleague and admirer of hers.

VERDICT : Readers of novels like Sarah’s Key and The Paris Architect may be familiar with some of the history of the occupation -- the roundup of French Jews at the Velodrome and their transport to Drancy -- but Faulks shines new light on the role of women during France’s darker past. An atmospheric and engrossing novel by a seasoned storyteller.

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