Review Round Up: Paris Echo by Sebastian Faulks

Sebastian Faulks deals with questions of empire, grievance and identity in his latest novel set in the city of light. Love London Love Culture rounds up the reviews here: 

Paris Echo

The Guardian: “This is a puzzling novel, not entirely successful in its voices and devices, but brimming with Faulks’s deep affection for Paris. His outsider’s interest in quirky street names and quaint corners transports his readers there too. And in the end, the book is powered by his ambition to evoke that place, its ghostliness, those spectres of history, lurking around every beautiful avenue.”

The Independent: ** “Although this is an illuminating lesson in Paris’s history, Faulks’s legendary storytelling is disappointingly swamped by his pursuit of ideas.”

The Spectator: “The problem at the heart of this often brilliant novel is that the clanking machinery of its themes can drown out the fiction. Fortunately, thanks to Faulks’s skill as a novelist, the fiction frequently becomes so immersive that the din of the machinery recedes. In a perfect world, though, it would have been nice to have had less clanking and more frozen fireballs.”

The Telegraph: *** “Faulks is a fine descriptive writer and evokes Paris splendidly, but too often it feels as if he has shoved his two narrators aside in order to favour the reader with his elegant observations direct.”

Evening Standard: “No one could accuse Faulks of not researching his history thoroughly, and Paris Echo is brimming with facts and hard truths about how people act during war that we could all benefit from knowing. But his attempt to knit Paris’s past and present in a literary fashion gets tangled, with threads left dangling, and ultimately unravels.”

The Scotsman: “this intelligent, moving, often disturbing novel is also really a love letter to Paris and indeed to France.”

Irish Times: “But it’s the relationship between Hannah and Tariq, two kind and gentle souls, that makes Paris Echo such a stimulating read. They’re able to provide each other with something they hadn’t known they needed and one feels that the effect they have on each other’s lives will continue long after their sojourn in Paris has come to an end.”

The Times: “Sebastian Faulks is “the most impressive novelist of his generation”, according to the cover of Paris Echo. Male-centric absolutes aside (perhaps The Sunday Telegraph writer had not encountered Ali Smith, Hilary Mantel, Kate Atkinson or Helen Dunmore), this poses an interesting question: what makes a novelist “impressive”? ” **** “Paris Echo is another impressive achievement, with Tariq a well- fleshed-out character whose ignorance is beguiling.”

Paris Echo is available to buy now


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