The Ruin of Everything

THE RUIN OF EVERYTHING
Stories

LARA STAPLETON

ISBN: 9781734496550
Library of Congress Control Number: 2021932139
Pages: 123
Release Date: October 19, 2021
Distributors: Ingram, Paloma Press, Bookshop, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books Inc. & select book stores
Price: $18

PALOMA PRESS RELEASES THE RUIN OF EVERYTHING

San Mateo, October 19, 2021 — Paloma Press is pleased to announce the release of The Ruin of Everything, a short story collection by Lara Stapleton, author of the critically acclaimed, The Lowest Blue Flame Before Nothing.

The Ruin of Everything tells tales of abandoned children living in adult bodies. Bastards, bi-racial half-siblings, and orphans raised by aunts, they lose their last best love through brokenness like “the impossible loop in a stress dream.” Racial ambiguity abounds and confounds US color lines. Tones stretch from lugubrious sorrow to wicked dramedy. Obstinately fluid in architecture and identity, stories range from slick Hollywood glam to essayistic musings, from traditional immigrant realism, to rehearsals of autofiction that grow more metatextual as the book goes along. Just as we think we’ve learned how to read Stapleton’s stories, they shapeshift. And yet, the pieces reflect each other, a sad-clown funhouse hall of mirrors. Through wanton experiments with character, The Ruin of Everything asks us what is important to a tale and what it means to be American in country and continents. Lovers of Clarice Lispector and Luisa Valenzuela will find much to admire here.

“An Anaïs Nin of late capitalism’s bohemia, Lara Stapleton writes like an oracle of an underworld—of miscegenated loves and translocated broken souls—of characters unaware or ruinously conscious—and she inscribes that world in us with lust and wit and always that deep joy that encompasses sorrows bred in the bone, the race, the colors of one’s skin, the heart, and of course the tongue: the word.”
Gina Apostol, author of Insurrecto

“With a keen eye for human ambitions and human frailties, Stapleton brings us the comic turmoil of characters steeped in the sorrows and absurdities of modern life; reaching for connection and erring, reaching for home and missing. Brimming with hard-edged loneliness, these stories reach into the underbellies of our deepest hopes and fears.”
Laurel Flores Fantauzzo, author of My Heart Underwater

“If you could read only one of the nine short stories, “New” makes the release of the entire book worthwhile. And “Flesh and Blood” also passed my key test as not just a reader but a writer: the story made me want to run to my own pen or keyboard to write. The stories are engaging but the writing is also a writer’s writer’s delight: the characterizations are not just deep but sumptuous, structures are not just innovative but fresh, and narratives are both finely detailed but interspersed with psychological caesuras for maximizing the reader’s inhabitance.”
Eileen Tabios, author of DoveLion

“Stapleton often eschews the traditional arc of storytelling. Some read like expanded character sketches, though the story is IN the characters. This is not to say the narratives lack emotions — they are embedded in each character, affirmed or denied by their respective coteries. After all, aren’t we the sum of all lives we touched and denied?”
Victor Velasco, poet & fiction writer

“Stapleton appears to have set out to navigate crisscrossing lives by simply allowing the characters, especially the I-persona, to adjudicate between everyday instances of hope and anguish… The navigation is skillfully conducted through shifting maps of loneliness, angst, and the occasional ruin of everything. The inherent intricacies develop a matrix of resultant debris that keeps the story-telling in the throes of deep engagement.”
Alfred Yuson, literary critic and author of The Music Child

“The real pleasure of this book lies in Stapleton’s irrepressible approach to narrative structure. Long, loose chains of events culminate in volta-like swerves…. these endings refashion early meanderings in thrilling flashes.”
The New York Times

About the author:

Lara photo by Renee Rogoff

LARA STAPLETON is the author of the short story collection, The Lowest Blue Flame Before Nothing (Aunt Lute), an Independent Booksellers’ Selection and a Pen Open Book Committee Selection. She is the recipient of a Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation Grant for Writers, a two-time winner of the University of Michigan’s Hopwood Award for Fiction and winner of the Columbia Journal Fiction Prize.

Virtual book release party, Oct 19 at 5pm PST/8pm EST. 

The Flesh and Blood book party, Oct 22, 7pm EST, 3 Bleecker St NYC. 

For more information, please email editor[at]palomapress.net.


Save the Date: 10/15-10/16

Paloma Press authors Lara Stapleton and Barbara Jane Reyes will be at the 6th Filipino American International Book Festival at the San Francisco Public Library on October 15-16, 2022! Please save the date. The theme this year is “HIRAYA/EMERGENCE: WRITING TOWARDS THE FUTURE.”

Congratulations, Lara Stapleton!

Congratulations to Lara Stapleton who has just been accepted to La Chispa’s International Artist in Residency Program in Medellin! LARA STAPLETON is the author of the short story collection, The Lowest Blue Flame Before Nothing (Aunt Lute), an Independent Booksellers’ Selection and a Pen Open Book Committee Selection. She is the recipient of a Ludwig Vogelstein FoundationContinue reading “Congratulations, Lara Stapleton!”

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The Good Mother of Marseille

THE GOOD MOTHER OF MARSEILLE
Christopher X. Shade

Read the opening chapter here.

ISBN 978-1-7323025-2-5
Release Date: April 9, 2019
Pages: 174
Price: $18.00
Order the book.

Paloma Press is delighted to announce the release of 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.

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

“No single viewpoint can take in a city like Marseille, marked up by too many cultures to count. So Christopher X. Shade provides us with a kaleidoscope, quite ingenious, in which shapes and colors young and old, native and foreign, exotic and run of the mill, tumble across one another. I dare you to look away.” —John Domini, author of MOVIEOLA!

The Good Mother of Marseille is a luminous, taut, utterly absorbing first novel. Part American expat novel à la The Sun Also Rises, the cast of characters also includes American tourists and French natives parallel playing out their dreams and sorrows on the stage of this gritty French port city. Shade is a compassionate observer of the human dilemma, his feel for place commanding, his story first-rate. I read it in one gulp.” —Lesley Dormen, author of The Best Place to Be

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.” —Clifford Garstang, author of What the Zhang Boys Know and In an Uncharted Country

“Using Marseille, France, as his canvas, Shade paints a cast of characters who, by their human interactions, invite the reader to repeatedly ask: Is it choice or fate that “leads us to the places we don’t expect to be?” If you want to delve into what it means to be human, when so many are facing loneliness and loss, then The Good Mother of Marseille is your invitation.” —Elena Georgiou, The Immigrant’s Refrigerator and Rhapsody of the Naked Immigrants

“Shade has quite the gift for moving seamlessly between characters and voices, together creating a remarkable chorus.” —Sameer Pandya, author of The Blind Writer

The Good Mother of Marseille feels more like the work of a seasoned writer than that of a debut novelist. Christopher X. Shade gives us characters of such depth, stories of such sensitivity, and a portrait of Americans abroad—in that historical moment just before 2016—that is ruthless in its honesty. International in scope, intimate in detail, The Good Mother of Marseille pursues the question: where do you go when home no longer is home?” —Joseph Salvatore, author of To Assume a Pleasing Shape

“How to build a city? Shade’s Marseille is haunted by visitors and voyeurs, and is held in place by the tension between immersion and flight. In arresting, beautifully surprising prose, Shade reveals the city in precise detail, while also demonstrating the essential elusiveness and risks of storytelling itself. This is a powerful and original novel.” —Aurelie Sheehan, author of Once Into the Night and Demigods on Speedway

“Breaking the illusions of a romantic Marseille, Shade paints this port city from the inside out, bringing to surface the truth found behind dark allies. The Good Mother of Marseille weaves a cast of characters who contemplate what it means to dream while having to bear witness to recurring nightmares. Arranged in a mosaic of episodes, these characters are broken, tormented, searching for a fading moral compass. The question that motivates them, that drives this intricate and riveting display of craft and language, is always: What does it take, what does it mean to stay alive?” —Mario Alberto Zambrano, author of Lotería

About the Author
Christopher X. Shade is co-founder and co-editor of Cagibi, at cagibilit.com, a journal of poetry and prose. His stories and book reviews have appeared widely, and he has won story awards including the 2016 Writers at Work fellowship competition. He teaches fiction and poetry writing at The Writers Studio. Raised in the South, he now lives with his wife in New York City.

For tour dates and book celebrations, email editor@palomapress.net or please contact the author directly.

*A portion of our proceeds in April will be donated to the Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA in observance of Prevention Against Cruelty to Animals Month.


TGMoM’s lost chapter

Christopher X. Shade, author of The Good Mother of Marseille, writes: I teach poetry and fiction at The Writers Studio, where we use models and techniques to help writers discover a unique voice and style for their material. One of my favorite models to teach is Annette Sanford’s “Nobody Listens When I Talk,” a shortContinue reading “TGMoM’s lost chapter”

Paloma Press’ 2020 Pushcart Prize Nominees

Congratulations! DIASPORA: VOLUME L BY IVY ALVAREZ “Lalabasan” ELSEWHEN BY ROBERT COWAN “Advice for Ninjas” THE GOOD MOTHER OF MARSEILLE BY CHRISTOPHER X. SHADE “The Two Men of Rue Saint-Ferréol” “The Stationer” GLIMPSES BY LENY STROBEL “#62” “#1,155”

The Bryant Park Reading Room

Phenomenal debut author Christopher X. Shade will be featured in the original Bryant Park event, “Best-Selling Authors in Bryant Park,” on August 21, 12:30pm. All events are free and open to the public. Books are available for purchase at the event from Kinokuniya USA and for signing by the authors. RSVP here. More information aboutContinue reading “The Bryant Park Reading Room”

INTERLOCUTOR interviews Christopher X. Shade

New York-based writer Christopher X. Shade recently published his debut novel The Good Mother of Marseille. In this interview, he discusses what drew him to Marseille as a setting, the literary influences for the book, and the challenges of writing a multi-character narrative. Read the interview here.

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