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The Crack Magazine


Paris Echo

Sebastian Faulks, Hutchinson

Disaffected Moroccan teenager Tariq lives with his father and stepmother in Tangier. He decides to run away with the vague notion of tracing the roots of his dead mother who lived in Paris. He eventually makes it to the City of Lights and by a roundabout series of events manages to secure a room in the apartment of Hannah. An American postdoctoral researcher, she is someone else looking to unearth a piece of history, but it’s the German occupation during World War 2 that she is interested in, with particular regard to the impact it had on the woman of the city. Tariq secures a job working in a fast food outlet, while Hannah spends her time trying to make sense of the taped testimonies of women who lived through the war. The ‘Echo’ of the novel’s title finds its release as the past blurs into the present and themes of colonialism, identity and questions of grievance are made explicit. It’s a thoughtful and, at times, moving work, but the final quarter of the book lacks a sense of urgency. 

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