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The Good Mother of Marseille

4.50  ·  Rating details ·  12 ratings  ·  7 reviews
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 ma ...more
Paperback, First, 174 pages
Published April 9th 2019 by Paloma Press
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Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: blurbed, novels
I had the opportunity to read a pre-publication copy of the book, and this was the blurb I offered:

The Good Mother of Marseille by Christopher X. Shade is a painfully beautiful novel, infused with peril and propelled by suspense. In powerful prose, Shade renders a complex mosaic of a city’s underbelly. These interlocking portraits of characters on the edge, barely hanging on, are filled with struggle—people who feel very real, confronting loss, doubtful futures, and their own existential fears.
Mary Barbee
Jun 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Such a great book! Christopher Shade takes his readers on a journey of self-discovery with relatable characters intertwined in one brillantly written story. Experience love, danger, heartbreak, curiosity and exploration right along with the characters, set in the small town of Marseille, France. It's a perfect novel for a book club - I highly recommend it! ...more
Oct 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a fascinating book. The city of Marseille is the primary character - protagonist, antagonist, and setting - throughout, but the book is not really about Marseille as the Marsellais experience it, but rather as seen through they eyes of a diverse and interesting group of Americans (and one Canadian). These people all have unique experiences with the inhabitants of Marseille, but everything seems to come back to the city itself. I found this book unique, intriguing, and beautifully written ...more
Dec 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
These stories definitely brought the city of Marseilles to life for me. I was a little disappointed that the final story moved to Paris, which seemed to cheat Marseilles out of its place in the sun. I was also hoping for a little more resolution of some of the other characters’ arcs, but I loved the way the stories grapple w what it means to be human - who are we and what do we believe in and how do we live our lives in ways that either support or reject those beliefs?
Charles Pelton
Jan 01, 2021 rated it really liked it
By one of my instructors in the Writers Studio ... first novel. Mood piece in Marseilles.
Jul 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A thoughtful book incorporating multiple character narratives. You really feel like you’re getting a lot of bang for your literary buck here. You have characters from all walks of life who find commonalities while maintaining individual story lines. A very thoughtful commentary on life in the city and how its denizens interact. Would absolutely recommend, a very pleasant read.
Christopher Ingram
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In “The Good Mother of Marseille,” Christopher X Shade employs the port city itself as a character, presiding over a cast of expats, tourists, and locals as they carry their own burdens of life; aspirations, disappointments and fears. As the old church watches over them all, we are transported by Shade’s sensitive, empathetic prose to a place to which we all can relate. Sumptuous. Wistful. Moving. A simply beautiful read.
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Christopher X. Shade is author of the novel The Good Mother of Marseille. His latest is the book of poems Shield the Joyous, about the loss of loved ones to the disease of addiction. His stories and book reviews have appeared widely, and he has won story awards including the Writers at Work fellowship competition in 2016. He is co-founder and co-editor of Cagibi, at, a journal of p ...more

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