Suggested One Read: The Ruins of Us

Book cover for The Ruins of Us by Keija ParssinenDuring the nomination process for One Read 2013, there was a huge outpouring of support for local author Keija Parssinen and her novel, “The Ruins of Us.” Here are just a few of the enthusiastic comments nominators shared about this work.

  • “Beautifully-written, tightly-plotted novel about troubles in the marriage of an American woman and a Saudi Arabian man who have lived in Arabia for years with their two children. A great story in itself with background in current issues of Islam and Middle Eastern politics…We usually only hear of war and chaos in this region and this would allow people to perhaps recognize that people have the same hopes, dreams, fears and frustrations all over the world. Great plot, characters with depth – memorable.”
  • “This book is a wonderful combination of a page-turning story and a passport to the elusive Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The book is part love letter to that country but also presents the complex and intricate ways its culture affects universal experiences like love and family. I loved it and think others will too – plus I think it would be so wonderful to support a local author!”
  • “Engrossing plot and particularly immersive setting with individual passages that convey larger truths. I find myself still thinking several weeks later both about the main character Rosalie and her actions and about the country and society in which she lived. The book is especially good at conveying a sense of place. This is an impressive debut novel. It would be a great choice specifically for One Read 2013 because (1) the author lives here and (2) with the recent Arab Spring, the book’s protagonist as a transplanted American opens possibilities for discussion about whether (or to what extent) we as Americans understand another culture even when immersed in it.”

Thank you to everyone who submitted a nomination for the 2013 One Read book! Nominations are now closed, but we will continue highlighting some of the suggested titles here at oneread.dbrl.org throughout the next few weeks.

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