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Paris Echo

Length: 9 hrs and 9 mins
Categories: Fiction, Literary
3.5 out of 5 stars (102 ratings)

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Summary

Random House presents the audiobook edition of Paris Echo by Sebastian Faulks.

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. 

©2018 Sebastian Faulks (P)2018 Random House Audiobooks

Critic reviews

"Faulks is beyond doubt a master." (Financial Times)

"Faulks captures the voice of a century." (Sunday Times)

"The most impressive novelist of his generation." (Sunday Telegraph)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Listen very carefully as I shall say zis only wuns

The author's voice jars with the inexplicable pronunciation of the readers. Seems like the text was sent to two random people along with a dictaphone and no other instructions than to send it back the results asap. The rendering of the archived recordings reminded me of Allo Allo! I kept asking myself if I was missing some obvious rationale for this approach. The subject matter includes a re wash of the dirty laundry previously done in Charlotte Gray with a few of France's more recently soiled garments chucked in to make up a full load!


14 of 14 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Terrible narrators

I had to enter a star for story in order to be able to post a review. But I made it through only the first two chapters because the narrators (who seem to alternate chapters) are truly terrible. The man mumbles, and the woman sounds like she's reading rather than speaking. I'm a big fan of Sebastian Faulks and may come back to this book, but for now I've got the new ones by William Boyd and Kate Atkinson, both of which appear to have excellent narrators.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Matt
  • London
  • 07-11-18

Poor casting, poor production

I’m a huge fan of Faulks but struggled to get more than a few chapters into this appalling production. Why on earth Ehsas has been chosen to read as a Morocan teenager I cannot imagine - it’s like deciding someone with a strong Scots accent will portray a Chinese narrator perfectly. At least his chapters are reasonably well produced though - McBride sounds like she’s reading in a bathroom, and her consistently inconsistent French pronunciations drive one insane - either the character is familiar with a word or not; choosing to pronounce Place or Boulevard wrong consistently is one thing, but just every now and again smacks of poor preparation and a producer who just doesn’t care. You can also constantly hear movement of clothes or paper during her sections, as well as dreadful reverb. I expect better from Random House.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Mark
  • Essex
  • 04-10-18

Paris Past and Present

I really wanted to enjoy this book as Faulks is such a great writer and I was initially feeling a bit underwhelmed but realised there was no point looking for what was not there ie it is not a thriller so don't look for thrills, there is no jeopardy so don't look for rescue etc. What it is though is a very finely crafted look at the modern day immigrant experience from a certain perspective and a moving account of Paris during the occupation as recalled by an American researcher. How these two lives intertwine is interesting but the most fascinating part for me was the account of a particular Nazi concentration camp on French soil. That really moved me. There was also character dialogue about happy endings being something of a modern cliche but I'm not going to give anything away so you'll have to read or listen to find out where Faulks leaves our characters.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Decent enough story; terrible accents

The storyline really intrigued me initially but I have since found it very difficult to engage in the book as the narrators accents are so awful (almost comedic). I'm probably going to buy a hard copy, but fear that the accents are going to plague me and I'll still 'hear' me as each character 'speaks'...

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Paris, mon amour

I have not enjoyed a book so much for ages. The main characters are utterly engaging; their imperfections make them human and by the end I felt I had got to know two unique human beings. The philosophical debate about history permeates the book, but is never didactic nor intrusive- just truly thought provoking. The audio performances were excellent. Paris is the real hero of the novel. I now cannot wait to visit Paris... and to read more Sebastian Faulks.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Started well then loses way - interesting parts of french history and description of Paris

I had high hopes for this book and it started well - beautifully described Paris and the reality of an illegal immigrant

Half way through it went very odd - not sure if it was trying to be too clever linking past and present - result for me was confusion.

Narrators are great - the story just not great

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Oh where has the talent gone Mr Faulks?

Sebastian Faulks used to be one of my favourite writers, "Birdsong" is a classic, a really top modern novel and "Fools Alphabet and others made him a writer you wanted to follow. But what has happened? This is a terrible book, his worst and that includes the excrable "Engleby". The only thing going for it is how well Paris is researched but don't you hear about every street, shop, station. He does not wear his research lightly. The two protagonists have little to recommend either of them and there is almost no story at all. Just when you think it cannot get any worse it ends as a fourth-rate rom com. Sometimes so repetitious in telling us of characters' feelings again and again, when you didn't even care the first time. The one interesting character, Sandrine, clearly too good for this mess gets written out early on. Yet this is a best seller!. I now realise that in modern parlance "best seller" means best advertised and with biggest marketing budget not best plot,story or idea. 9 hours I will never get back. Don't bother!

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Boring

This is the first time I struggled through a Sebastian Faulkes novel. I have always enjoyed his writing.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A disapponting testimony to Paris

The part of Tariq was interesting and seemed authentic and genuine. Hannah's part was less well-defined and empathetic. However, it was difficult to understand why both characters mispronounced French names when they were both supposed to have a knowledge of the language.