Category Archives: reviews

Francemag – Emily Rack

Narrated by an Italian-American living in Paris with her aristocratic French husband and newborn baby, this comic novel is an imaginative tale of motherhood. Struggling with her newfound role as a mother and with life in a foreign country, Jane de la Rochefoucault is facing more challenges than most new mums (kung-fu criminals, stolen cars, and a criminal mother-in-law to name a few). Set in the beautiful streets of Paris, The Baby of Belleville tells the comical story of a woman trying to balance marriage, babies, life and all the chaos that comes with it. Writing in a light-hearted, casual tone, author Anne Marsella manages to make the elaborate plot seem like a conversation with a good friend.… Read more
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The Independent – David Evans

The narrator of Anne Marsella’s comic novel is an Italian-American woman who lives in Paris with her aristocratic husband and their newborn son. The book centres on the trials and pleasures of motherhood: the teething, the first steps, the interfering in-laws. With its alliterative puns, neatly turned witticisms and acronyms such as “SJLYM”, which denotes the dreaded phenomenon of “sounding just like your mother”, it reads like a diverting article in a lifestyle magazine. The emergence of a subplot concerning a bloody kidnapping, then, is somewhat unexpected; it’s as if the mafia suddenly turned up halfway through a Caitlin Moran column.… Read more
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The New York Times – Daniel Woodrell

ANNE MARSELLA’S short-story collection, “The Lost and Found”, is a passport into foreign terrain not to be found on a tourist’s map. ‘”There are streets in Paris where the tourist seeking thrill and knapsack curio does not venture.” So begins a story, ‘”The Roommates;’ about two young, women. Mary (from Kenya) and Selma (from Turkey), who work in a Parisian sweatshop and share their boss as a lover. They live on one of those streets not pointed out to tourists, and lead the sort or lives most of us don’t know much about. This is Ms. Marsella’s ambition, to take lbe reader down the unmapped streets of  the West and let us see them through a third-world sensibility: “the deracinated seekers, the beauties and the beasts [who) came to this city perhaps I because at despair or because of lust.” Anne Marsella, who was awarded the Elmer Holmes Bobst Award… Read more
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FT Magazine – Rose Jacobs

Some readers will be turned off by the conceit of this first novel, in which an American fashionista in Paris seeks help from a syndicate of Catholic saints in her search for true love. But this is less chick-lit than an insight into one strain of modem expat life. Remedy, the narrator, is fluent in French and appreciated at work, but she befriends outsiders – the Muslim office cleaners. her Egyptian dance teacher, a blind nun – more than she does the natives. An idiosyncratic, deliberate character, she lives at the intersection of an immigrant’s vivid Paris and her own internal world, she turns what could be a cloying tale into something much stranger – and more charming.… Read more
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Chloe Rhodes, The Telegraph

Remedy by Anne Marsella This is classic Marmite literature – you either love it or you hate it. The main character, Remedy, is so eccentric and her narrative so self-consciously quirky that, unless you’re hooked within the first five pages, you’ll never be. The concept is familiar: a lonely romantic is on a quest to find the man of her dreams and has several unsuitable suitors before finding Prince Charming. But the originality of the writing makes the plot irrelevant. What’s especially appealing here is the access given to the inner voice of such an unusual heroine. The traditions of Catholicism (along with the teachings of Islam and the joy of Arabian belly-dancing) are cleverly woven into the story; Remedy addresses her thoughts on love and life to a different Catholic saint each day and each chapter begins with a potted history of their lives. The result is a delightful… Read more
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The American Library in Paris

When You’re StrangeAnne Marsella is the award-winning author of four books, most recently The Baby of Belleville, a novel about life, love, and motherhood in Paris. Today, she writes about reconciling the writing life with parenting, the very human need to belong, and the pain of alienation that sometimes comes with living in a foreign country. We look forward to welcoming Anne to the Library. She will talk about how living in France for two decades has shaped her work. “Writing in French has expanded and, in a sense, liberated my English,” she states. “I am not the least afraid of oddities in language; in fact, I welcome them because my main interest lies in questions of otherness, exile and in foreigners.” The New York Times writes that Marsella’s work “is a passport into foreign territory not to be found on any tourist’s map.” Join us for a fascinating evening… Read more
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The Times – Kate Saunders

“The heroine is named Remedy so it is fair to assume that her company is supposed to be a tonic. An American fashion hack in Paris, she lives in the heart of the quartier cliché, surrounded by colourful characters. There’s a lot of whimsy – but Remedy is irresistible. When not working, she attends Mass with her friend, the blind nun, meditates on the lives of the saints and waits for love. Her romances are the funniest parts of a strangely pleasing novel.”… Read more
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The First Post

” The eponymous heroine of REMEDY is a nice Catholic girl from Florida with an adventurous sexual appetite who works in Paris for A la Mode Online. Every lunchtime, while her colleagues hit the gym, she goes to Mass and entreats that day’s saint to send her an agreeable lover. When not lusting after A La Mode’s gay photographer Jean Claudi, or fighting off the attentions of otherwise inappropriate Frenchmen, she reads Balzac, makes much of her cat Jubilee and muses philosophically. Marsella’s writing is arch, literary… heroines who can do Henry James and Jean-Paul Gaultier are few and far between and should therefore be treasured.”… Read more
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FT Magazine

“This is less chick-lit than an insight into one strain of modern expat life: Remedy, the narrator, is fluent in French and appreciated at work, but she befriends outsiders – the Muslim office cleaners, her Egyptian dance teacher, a blind nun –more than she does the natives. An idiosyncratic, deliberate character, she lives at the intersection of an immigrant’s vivid Paris, and her own internal world…she turns what could be a cloying tale into something much stranger – and more charming.”… Read more
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The Daily Telegraph

“The concept is familiar: a lonely romantic is on a quest to find the man of her dreams. But the originality of the writing makes the plot irrelevant. What’s especially appealing here is the access given to the inner voice of such an usual heroine. The traditions of Catholicism (along with the teachings of Islam and the joy of Arabian belly-dancing) are cleverly woven into the story; Remedy addresses her thoughts on love and life to a different Catholic saint each day and each chapter begins with a potted history of their lives. The result is a delightful sort of hagiographer’s Brigit Jones.”… Read more
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