CHRISTOPHER X. SHADE with Beverly Donofrio

Beverly Donofrio (Rail): Why Marseille?

Christopher Shade: I had no epidermis when I went to Marseille in 2013. I was all nerves. I’d just resigned from a very intense job at a media company, and travel was what I thought I needed to jolt myself into a new phase of life. So I designed for myself an itinerary through Europe in the shape of the letter S. I was to stay with friends of friends where possible. I had a suitcase full of books, empty journals, and photography equipment. The plan was for me to begin at Marseille, travel up through Europe, and then fly home out of Amsterdam. But I got stuck in Marseille. Something mysterious pinned me there. I stayed longer than expected. By the time I got to Amsterdam, I was writing feverishly about Marseille and aching to come home so I could settle deeply into the writing work of this project. Each of those other European places I visited had high points, but I’d been seduced by Marseille. I didn’t need the letter S. All I needed was to go elsewhere, as all the characters do in the book…

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