These Dividing Walls
Shortlisted for the 2018 Edward Stanford Travel Writing Award
By Fran Cooper
These Dividing Walls is a prescient debut novel by a striking new voice in fiction.
Step into Paris as you have never seen it before. . .
SHORTLISTED FOR THE HAYES & JARVIS FICTION WITH A SENSE OF PLACE, 2018 EDWARD STANFORD TRAVEL WRITING AWARD
'An engaging debut that throws light on a hidden side of Paris' Woman and Home
'A sensitive, necessary, brave book.' Laura Barnett, author of The Versions of Us
What building doesn't have secrets?
How much does anyone know of what goes on behind their neighbour's doors?
On a hot June day, grief-stricken Edward arrives in Paris hoping that a stay in a friend's empty apartment will help him mend. But this is not the Paris he knows: there are no landmarks or grand boulevards, and the apartment he was promised is little more than an attic room.
In the apartments below him, his new neighbours fill their flats with secrets. A young mother is on the brink, a bookshop owner buries her past, and a banker takes up a dark and malicious new calling.
Before he knows it, Edward will find himself entangled in their web, and as the summer heat intensifies so do tensions within and without the building, leading to a city-wide wave of violence, and a reckoning within the walls of number 37.
With a sultry heat to rival A Year in Provence and all the sharp perception of Leila Slimani's Lullaby, These Dividing Walls is a beautifully written and eye-opening novel about the Paris we don't see.
'It'll open your heart and mind. It certainly did mine' The Pool
'An unforgettable and unexpected portrait of Paris' Hannah Rothschild
What readers have said about These Dividing Walls:
'Totally engrossing - it was a magical pleasure to lose myself in these people's world each night'
'The quality of the writing in These Dividing Walls is never short of exquisite'
'This is an outstanding debut novel from an author to watch'
'A delightful glimpse into the lives of a group of people one hot and fearful summer'
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.
- Other details
- Publication date:
08 Feb 2018
- Page count:
An engaging debut that throws light on a hidden side of Paris. — Woman & Home
Confident and brilliant — Lisa O'Donnell
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
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
Cooper has written a Ship of Fools for today, bringing forth the poetry and pathos of ordinary lives. — The Lady
The Paris of this skillful yet tender debut novel is not the Paris of our Eurostar mini breaks. — Red Online
Cooper's characters are what make this novel so readable. — The Herald
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
This beautifully written debut is about love and loss. — Nina Pottell, Prima
Timely and thoughtful, it's perhaps one of the first novels to reflect back the state of our current society. — The Idle Woman blog
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
The writing is exquisite and discursive. — Isobel Blackthorn
An erudite and engaging read — Bookliterati
Cooper's writing is exceptional. ... It's a beautifully crafted novel. — Book and Brew
An enchanting and beautifully written debut — Jo's Book Blog
It's the voices of various neighbours in their apartment block that make this novel special. — AnOther Magazine
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