Monday 1 May 2017

Book Review: These Dividing Walls by Fran Cooper

Title: These Dividing Walls
Author: Fran Cooper
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Publication Date: 16 May 2017
Pages: 250
Format: EBook - PDF
Genre: Literary Fiction
Source: ARC via NetGalley

One Parisian summer

A building of separate lives

All that divides them will soon collapse...

In a forgotten corner of Paris stands a building.

Within its walls, people talk and kiss, laugh and cry; some are glad to sit alone, while others wish they did not. A woman with silver-blonde hair opens her bookshop downstairs, an old man feeds the sparrows on his windowsill, and a young mother wills the morning to hold itself at bay. Though each of their walls touches someone else's, the neighbours they pass in the courtyard remain strangers.

Into this courtyard arrives Edward. Still bearing the sweat of a channel crossing, he takes his place in an attic room to wait out his grief.

But in distant corners of the city, as Paris is pulled taut with summer heat, there are those who meet with a darker purpose. As the feverish metropolis is brought to boiling point, secrets will rise and walls will crumble both within and without Number 37...
(Goodreads Synopsis)

I found These Dividing Walls both a delightful and thought-provoking read. On the one hand it is the tale of a disparate group of people, all dwelling within the same Parisian apartment building, all with their own worries and hang-ups; on the other hand it is a thoughtful commentary on the issues facing us in current times with regard to hatred, fear, and intolerance. The characters are all beautifully drawn, and the social commentary weaves effortlessly through the story without being too 'in your face' or preachy. I found this book difficult to put down each night; I was so taken with the characters' stories, wondering what would happen to them next. These Dividing Walls is a wonderful literary fiction work that can be read as either social commentary or a simple tale of the interactions between a group of very different people and their various reactions to the same situation.

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