Off the Clock: Local author’s new novel confronts women’s issues and small-town anxieties

Mar 27, 2015

Author of the new book, "The Unraveling of Mercy Louis," Keija Parssinen.

Columbia-based novelist Keija Parssinen’s first book, The Ruins of Us, was a Columbia One Read selection in 2013. The novel centered is around a crumbling marriage between an American expat and her Saudi billionaire husband. Parssinen’s new novel, The Unraveling of Mercy Louis, is set closer to home: it takes place in a small Texas refinery town that grows increasingly zealous in its attempts to control its population of teenage girls. The town’s paranoia builds toward an outbreak of mass hysteria and a modern-day witch trial. Parssinen spoke with KBIA about the research behind her new book; she began by comparing the Saudi Arabia of her first book with the Texas town she describes in her new novel.


Parssinen  is scheduled to read at the “Hearing Voices/Seeing Visions” series at Orr Street Studios on April 21 at 7 p.m. On May 2, she’s a part of the Osher Book Talk at 10 a.m., located at 1907 Hillcrest Drive in Columbia. On May 7 at 7 p.m., she’s reading at the Missouri River Regional Library in Jefferson City.

Listen to Parssinen read an excerpt from her novel, The Unraveling of Mercy Louis, below.