These Dividing Walls

These Dividing Walls : Shortlisted for the 2018 Edward Stanford Travel Writing Award

3.9 (1,085 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

Number 37 has its stories: in this it is like any building. For what building doesn't have secrets? How much does anyone know of what goes on behind their neighbours' doors?

Far back on Paris' Left Bank, in a secret quarter, Edward arrives at an empty attic room for the summer. On the floors below him are the residents of number 37: Cesar, a banker hiding his redundancy from his wife, lives adjacent to Isabelle, a bitter HR manager; Madame Marin, the gossiping hairdresser lives below Anais, a young mother on the edge; and Frederique, a bohemian bookshop owner, takes her daily tea with Josef, the ever watching homeless man over the road.

Edward arrives in their midst having fled from his home in England, from his mother, whose dementia is worsening, his father, consumed with grief and hiding it badly, and from the gaping hole the death of his sister has left. He hopes that Paris will be a distraction, that he will mend and heal. And though he befriends some young, politically-minded French students, he is drawn back to the residents of number 37, as between its walls secrets are revealed and true natures unmasked, and relationships blossom and falter.

As the summer heat becomes stifling, members of the new Far Right hand out pamphlets in bars and rally in squares, until tensions reach boiling point and terror strikes in the heart of Paris, and number 37's deepest secrets are revealed.

These Dividing Walls is a striking debut novel by a compelling new author.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 256 pages
  • 155 x 234 x 19mm | 336g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1473641543
  • 9781473641549
  • 931,856

Review Text

An engaging debut that throws light on a hidden side of Paris. Woman & Home
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Review quote

In a Paris tense with summer heat, anger and hate drive its people to drastic action, in this intensely satisfying and timely novel of a city in crisis. -- Aileen Smyth, Dubray Rathmines It's the voices of various neighbours in their apartment block that make this novel special. * AnOther Magazine * An enchanting and beautifully written debut * Jo's Book Blog * Cooper's writing is exceptional. ... It's a beautifully crafted novel. * Book and Brew * An erudite and engaging read * Bookliterati * The writing is exquisite and discursive. -- Isobel Blackthorn I absolutely loved this book and I can't wait to read more from the author who I'm sure has a glittering career ahead of her. * What Cathy Read Next * Timely and thoughtful, it's perhaps one of the first novels to reflect back the state of our current society. * The Idle Woman blog * This beautifully written debut is about love and loss. -- Nina Pottell * Prima * The writing tantalizingly evokes the sights and sounds of Paris while also giving us an eye-opening perspective of a side of the city that we don't know much about. It is a nuanced portrayal of relationships and the whole spectrum of human emotions. * Book Riot * Cooper's characters are what make this novel so readable. * The Herald * The Paris of this skillful yet tender debut novel is not the Paris of our Eurostar mini breaks. * Red Online * Cooper has written a Ship of Fools for today, bringing forth the poetry and pathos of ordinary lives. * The Lady * A multi-layered novel, elevated by fine writing, in which our traditional view of Paris is debunked to show a less familiar side of the city. Cooper's expertly realised characters, both sympathetic and not, have stories that are interwoven with aplomb. * Daily Mail * This book played into my acute nosiness, throwing open the doors to the fictional lives of the residents of number 37 . . . It'll open your heart and your mind. It certainly did mine. * The Pool * Confident and brilliant -- Lisa O'Donnell An engaging debut that throws light on a hidden side of Paris. * Woman & Home *
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About Fran Cooper

Fran Cooper grew up in London before reading English at Cambridge and Art History at the Courtauld Institute of Art. She spent three years in Paris writing a PhD about travelling eighteenth-century artists, and currently works in the curatorial department of a London museum. These Dividing Walls is her first novel.
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Rating details

1,085 ratings
3.9 out of 5 stars
5 27% (294)
4 44% (474)
3 23% (246)
2 6% (62)
1 1% (9)
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