Praise for The Good Mother of Marseille:
“A veritable bouillabaisse of a novel, simmering with intrigue and steaming with surprises.” —Lorea Canales, author of Becoming Marta and Los Perros
“A remarkable work of imagination, a debut novel that not only introduces us to a gifted writer of fiction, but offers a beguiling glimpse into the zeitgeist of a generation’s appetite for the exotic and the mysterious. In the Hemingway tradition, its many linked stories gel into one compelling story of Americans abroad. Shade’s sensitivity toward his characters is infectious, and, quite frankly, unforgettable.” —Philip Schultz, Pulitzer Prize-winning author most recently of Luxury and The Wherewithal: A Novel in Verse
“Marseille with its hot dangerous streets, its bars, and beautiful churches becomes a character in this fresh and original novel by Christopher X. Shade. Here we glimpse anew intriguing and moving facets of human nature so skillfully and believably portrayed.” —Sheila Kohler, author of 13 books, most recently a memoir, Once We Were Sisters
“Well-developed characters, finding themselves in a landscape that is both beautiful and troubling, come to Marseille in search of many things—a chance to prove themselves, an adventure, a last hurrah. But what they find within is deeply more meaningful and surprising.” —Chantel Acevedo, author of The Distant Marvels and The Living Infinite
“The Good Mother of Marseille is a beautiful and memorable debut, a melancholy tale of both lost and found, a love letter to the night-lights of France, a movable feast for this 21st century.” —Scott Cheshire, author of High as the Horses’ Bridles
More Praise at christopherxshade.com.
One of Big Other’s “Most Anticipated Small Press Books of 2019”
Book Synopsis: In Christopher X. Shade’s The Good Mother of Marseille, it’s the summer of 2013, in the year of Marseille’s designation as the European Capital of Culture. Readers get a taste of this dangerous, impoverished yet seductive port city of France as they follow the interwoven stories of Americans who have come to wander and sightsee. Noémie, an anthropology student, wants to make the gritty graffiti-covered neighborhood of Cours Julien her home, but she’s running out of time, money, and her university sponsor’s patience.
Noémie watches over Corey, from New Jersey, who is an earlier version of her: also an anthropology student, he’s just getting started. But what he wants is very different. He searches the Marseille streets for what he needs from someone to love. In the old port, the wife of a small-town Alabama couple presses to see all the sights while her husband is losing his vision to an eye disease. Noémie intersects with everyone—has she stolen their passports? A Colorado man with late-stage cancer and fear of the unexpected falls in love with a French woman he meets at a café on the old port. In Marseille and then in Paris, a woman helps her journalist husband figure out what is happening in his head as he experiences a peculiar stress disorder. Hovering on the fringe are the Marseillais, the shopkeepers, artists, café waiters. Who among them will save Noémie?
To the rhythm of European street life, each American puts a Marseille experience in the context of their own histories. It’s a love letter to the turbulence of Marseille, and to the turbulence to be found under the surface of each of us, the pounding hearts and jarring fears.