These Dividing Walls

Far back on the Left Bank, there is a secret quarter.

A warren of quiet streets sandwiched between boulevards where little traffic moves. On a corner stands a building with a turquoise door – Number 37

These Dividing Walls

Set over a hot summer in a shabby corner of Paris we are introduced to the residents of Number 37. Heat is central to the novel and it is what binds the stories together –  from a city tense with heat and boiling tensions over nationality and immigration, to feverish dreams, and the languid and stifling air of the apartment block.

A debut novel from Fran Cooper this book is character driven, and if you don’t like or at least empathise with them then maybe this won’t be the book for you. Some I liked better than others and for some the more I knew about them the less they interested me. But others have stuck in my memory.

This novel is really a series of vignettes about the neighbours loosely coupled by the building they share and the city they live in. Sometimes their lives overlap and sometimes they are oblivious to the lives of others around them.

Through Edward we are introduced to the building. Edward has come to Paris to escape his own grief and an offer of an attic room by his friend Emilie brings him to Number 37 and the world of Frederique and her bookshop, Anaïs and Paul, Chantal and Cesar, Madame Marin and her beige husband, Isabell Duval, Monsieur Lalande, Amina and Ahmed, and the homeless man, Josef, who watches all the comings and goings at Number 37.

These Dividing Walls depicts a microcosm of society and features a cast of troubled characters – those living with grief, or looking for escape from it, night-time keyboard warriors, misguided ‘everymen’, and those lost in their own lives. “This is not the Paris you know” but maybe you may recognise these same characters living in your own community.

These Dividing Walls
by Fran Cooper
Published by Hachette New Zealand
ISBN: 9781473641549

Neighbourhood Week 2015

Neighbourhood Week 2015 PosterNeighbourhood Week is happening again this year from Friday 23 October to Sunday 1 November, and it is a fantastic opportunity to bring people together, build stronger communities and get to know those around you. It is also a perfect excuse for a party!

In this day and age it is a bit hard to keep track of the people around you. We all work or have too many commitments and, before you know it, you are surrounded by strangers! This is the perfect time to go and meet your neighbours without them thinking you are a bit strange. 😉

There are many ways you can participate, from organising a street party to hosting a dinner or a sports day to just going and introducing yourself to your neighbours.

There are heaps of tips and ideas on the Neighbourhood Week page, from how to organise a party to how to ask for a grant for one (although applications for this year have closed, it’s never too early to start planning for next year) and you can even print invitations for your event.

We also have some wonderful books at Christchurch City Libraries that will give you ideas. You can

You can also find out about what’s happening in your library by browsing our events calendar. Chances are you’ll meet people that live in your area and that have similar interests to you… win win!

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In your Neighbourhood Week

Neighbourhood week runs from 25 October to 3 November 2013. It is a chance to get to know your neighbours.

CINCH logoWe’ve got some tools to help you link into your neighbourhood:

If you need to find a community organisation in Christchurch, our community information directory CINCH is the place to go. Our libraries have community noticeboards and display information on local groups and classes.

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