- 21 Oct 18
They'll Always Have Paris...
By very different means of entry, Hannah, an American postdoctoral researcher, and Tariq, a young Moroccan on the run from an over bearing father and boredom, arrive in Paris. Thanks to a frankly hard to credit series of events, they become unlikely flat mates.
Hannah is studying records of Parisian women during the Nazi occupation but is troubled by the memory of a live changing/wrecking affair with a Russian playwright. Tarig, on the other hand, is driven to distraction by his own priapism – he is vaguely searching for a memory of his late mother but he's in love with himself from the book's first paragraph - and is really more concerned with getting his end away.
The novel is haunted by ghosts and memories at every turn. Hannah becomes more and more obsessed by the women she is studying until a shocking revelation opens her eyes. Tariq's daily travels around the underbelly of the city offer lessons on the good and the bad sides of French history, helped at one point by what appears to be the ghost of Victor Hugo, performing a puppet show version of Les Misérables on the metro. The author's deep affection for the city of lights - as much a character in the book as anyone else - is evident throughout, the reader will have earned a grounding in Parisian geography by the time they reach the last page.