The Ruins of Us: A Novel

The Ruins of Us: A Novel

4.0 13
by Keija Parssinen
     
 

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Saudi-born author Keija Parssinen’s stunning debut offers the intricate, emotionally resonant story of an American expatriate who discovers that her husband, a Saudi billionaire, has taken a second bride—an emotionally turbulent revelation that blinds them both to their teenaged son’s ominous first steps down the road of radicalization. Readers of

Overview

Saudi-born author Keija Parssinen’s stunning debut offers the intricate, emotionally resonant story of an American expatriate who discovers that her husband, a Saudi billionaire, has taken a second bride—an emotionally turbulent revelation that blinds them both to their teenaged son’s ominous first steps down the road of radicalization. Readers of The Septembers of Shiraz will be captivated by Parssinen’s story of love and betrayal, fundamentalism, family and country in the Middle East. Anthony Swofford, author of Jarhead, hails Parssinen’s characters as “richly conceived, and her evocative petrol universe of wealth, privilege, and intrigue is unforgettable,” characterizing The Ruins of Us as having “powerful storytelling that is refreshing and entertaining.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062064493
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
01/17/2012
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
241,201
File size:
1 MB

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Keija Parssinen is the author of The Ruins of Us, which won a Michener-Copernicus Award. Raised in Saudi Arabia and Texas, she is a graduate of Princeton University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was a Truman Capote Fellow. Parssinen is an assistant professor of English at the University of Tulsa, where she teaches fiction writing.

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The Ruins of Us 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The authenticity of the characters,along with descriptions of their culture and geography is persuasive and gripping as this story offers a glimpse into a world we need to better understand. This well-crafted first novel would, I think, appeal to adults of all ages and would provide great material for a book club discussion.
CherishD More than 1 year ago
Beautifully written...took me longer than usual to read because I would flip back to previous pages, not because I was confused, but because the story was so rich. I didn't think I would enjoy this book, based on my perceptions of how women are treated in this culture...I was wrong.
madmaxine1 More than 1 year ago
An excellent story. I could not put it down. I highly recommend.
Man_Of_La_Book_Dot_Com More than 1 year ago
The Ruins of Us by Keija Parssi­nen is a fic­tional book set in Saudi Ara­bia. The book is a char­ac­ter study of mar­riage in the midst of a cul­ture clash. Amer­i­can born Ros­alie grew up in an army base in Saudi Ara­bia. In col­lege Ros­alie met and fell in love with Abdul­lah Bayla who mar­ried her and they decided to raise a fam­ily in Saudi Arabia. Ros­alie dis­cov­ers that Abdul­lah has taken a sec­ond wife. While Abdul­lah and Ros­alie are involved in their own per­sonal mass, they don’t pay atten­tion to their six­teen year old son, Faisal, who is becom­ing more and more extreme. The Ruins of Us by Keija Parssi­nen starts off slow but picks up towards the end. The pro­tag­o­nist, Ros­alie, finds out that her lov­ing hus­band has hid­den a sec­ond wife from her, but Ros­alie is a Texas girl. The inter­est­ing part, for me, is the descrip­tions of a part of the world which, unfor­tu­nately, I will most likely never get to visit and that of a for­eign cul­ture. The descrip­tions of the beau­ti­ful and not-so-beautiful parts of Saudi Ara­bia were won­der­fully writ­ten and the cul­tural issues expa­tri­ates have to deal with were fas­ci­nat­ing. The char­ac­ters were engag­ing and some even like­able, but I felt that the story could have used a bit more empha­sis on the cul­tural impli­ca­tions and accep­tance of polygamy. I would have liked to read more about the rela­tion­ship between the two women and about the sec­ond wife, her thoughts and feel­ings and cul­tural accep­tance. One of the things that really struck home is Rosalie’s rose col­ored view of her child­hood world. Ros­alie grew up in Saudi Ara­bia as a child and then her par­ents moved back to the US. Remem­ber­ing her child­hood Ros­alie wanted to go back and live in Saudi Ara­bia and has done so with all the good and bad it entails. I know that I still feel a long­ing to my child­hood birth place, how­ever when I go there it’s not the same and I know that it will never be.
AlbertG More than 1 year ago
The Ruins Of Us is a deeply complex and moving drama that is as telling and current as a glimpse into the family structure that is our time. It is the story of Rosalie al-Baylani, an American, who married a wealthy Saudi businessman and left all she knew to move to Saudi Arabia to become his wife and together they raised a family. It is twenty years later when her world, that she sacrificed so much for, is torn apart by learning that her husband had taken a second wife two years prior. The unraveling, this truth begins the destruction of the life she held so dear or as the story goes on, the illusion of. But if is far more than just Rosalie's story. It is the story of her husband, her son and her daughter and the complex world they live in but have not been quite accepted into. It is the story of race, of religion and finally above all else, family.
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DawnSJ More than 1 year ago
I lovedthis book! The characters were well developed and realistic. The story situation is one that some American women find themselves in and is very thought provoking. Love is not the only consideration when making decisions about family. This story brings up culture in a very sensitive manner.
JdoubleU More than 1 year ago
I loved the story and the insight about the Islamic culture. It was light reading and would be an excellent suggestion for a book club.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a really good read. It will be a while before I read it again, because I don't like crying. The story has stayed with me. Excellent for a new author.
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