TCL’s Shelf Control #2 – What the Faulks?


Shelf Control is a weekly celebration hosted by Lisa @ Bookshelf Fantasies, of the unread books on our shelves. Lisa says: “Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up! For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out my introductory post, here.”

Want to join in? Shelf Control posts go up every Wednesday. See the guidelines at the bottom of the post, and jump on board!

This is now my second time doing this. (Could it become habit forming?)

Paris EchoMy husband was a big fan of Sebastian Faulks, and I have seven of his books on my shelves, all but one of which I’ve never read. Aside from those on my shelf, I read his PG Wodehouse fan-fiction book “Jeeves and the Wedding Bells” which was good fun, but I DNF his Ian Flemming-James Bond fan-fiction book “Devil May Care.” I remember reading his “Charlotte Gray” (long before I started blogging), which I now see is part of what one site called his “loose” France trilogy, that included “Birdsong.” That book, apparently (according to Goodreads), is the only one of his books on my shelf that I’ve read, but I don’t remember much, to be honest. Another blogger told me I should read his “Paris Echo,” which is the book I’m thinking about pulling from my shelves, to either read or toss! Let’s see which one it will be.

Now, I know I like how Faulks writes, but I don’t know anything about this particular book. The blurb for this, which is also on the back cover of my copy (pictured above), is as follows:

American academic Hannah and runaway Moroccan teenager Tariq have little in common, yet both find themselves haunted by the ghosts of Paris.

Hannah listens to the extraordinary witness of women living under the German Occupation and finds a city bursting with clues, connections and past love affairs, while in the migrant suburbs Tariq is searching for a mother he barely knew. Urgent and deeply moving, Paris Echo asks how much we really need to know in order to live a valuable life.

Well, that doesn’t tell me much. It sounds like it is contemporary fiction, with two main protagonists. I’m guessing it will be told in parallel points-of-view, and they’re probably meet up at one point or another – or not. With that little to go on, I’m actually intrigued; I prefer a short, and enigmatic blurb to long, drawn-out ones. So… Let’s take a look at the opening paragraph of the opening chapter, which has a heading “Maison Blanche” to it.

I was taking a pee in the bathroom when I caught sight of myself in the mirror. My face looked so beautiful that I turned to look more closely, spraying the tiles around the toilet in my hurry. I shook my zib and put it back inside my boxers so I could study my face. It was like someone had drawn a faint shadow beneath the cheekbones, then put a touch of mascara on my lashes. The eyes had a depth I’d never seen before. I put my head to one side and smiled, then furrowed my brow as though I was being serious, but the eyes stayed the same – twinkling with a kind of humour and experience. This was the face of someone old beyond my years.

HA! Yes, I guess if he wasn’t paying attention, he might spray the bathroom with his piss if he turned that quickly. That’s a really good opening visual. This must be Tariq, and we already know he’s a bit self-centered. Despite this, I think he’ll still be likeable, since he seems surprised at his own looks, rather than being vain.

I also skipped ahead to the beginning of the second chapter, and just like I had supposed, this one was about Hannah. Now, dual- and multiple-timelines has become a bit clichéd of late, but dual or multiple POVs seem to be a formula that usually doesn’t feel trite and often makes good sense when we have more than one main protagonist. So…

My verdict is…  I’ll keep this one on my TBR list!

From what I’ve put here, would you read it? Have you read it? If so, would you recommend it?

You can buy this book (affiliate links) from: Amazon,, UK.Bookshop, iTunes (iBook and iAudiobook), Indiebound, Alibris, Kobo (eBooks and audiobooks), Better World Books, Booksamillion,, The Book Depository UK, The Book Depository US, Foyles, WHSmith, Waterstones, Wordery UK, and Wordery US.

Want to participate in Shelf Control? Here’s how:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link in the comments to Lisa’s latest post, or link back from your own post, so Lisa can add you to the participant list.
  • Check out other posts, and…

Have fun!

What about you?

What books do you have on your shelf that you haven’t read yet?

11 thoughts on “TCL’s Shelf Control #2 – What the Faulks?

  1. I loved his early work – The Girl at the Lion D’Or, Birdsong are my favourites – but I haven’t read anything by him in years (decades maybe). He belongs to a group of authors whose work I bought as soon as it came out, but then lost their appeal for me. I can’t help you much with this decision since I’ve not heard of it even but who knows, if you read it and enjoy it, maybe you’ll persuade me to go back to Faulks

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve read one book by this author ages ago (The Girl at the Lion D’Or), but it was so long ago that I honestly don’t remember anything about it. Hmmm. I’ve heard good things over the years — I’ll be interested in hearing more if you read this!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This book sounds so intriguing! One of the many reasons I love Shelf Control is because it always jogs my memory about books I’d forgotten I bought. Great post!
    Here’s the LINK to mine in case you want to stop by later. Have a nice day!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I read one book by Faulks but didn’t find it that compelling. I can’t remember which one it was, but it was one of the “Paris” ones. It may have been Birdsong, because at the time everyone was reading Charlotte Gray, and I read the one before it. Didn’t bother to go on to Charlotte, so it will be interesting to see what you think.

    Liked by 1 person

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