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.


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  Even though Columbia is a relatively small city, it is full of published writers. On Intersection this week, local authors Keija Parssinen, Marlene Lee and Alex George told us why they think Columbia is such a writer’s haven.

Watch the show and join the conversation on the Intersection website.

Shane Epping

What happens when you put together a blue-eyed blonde Texas woman with a handsome Saudi man living in a traditional Saudi culture, and throw in a young secular Arab blogger and a young Muslim man rediscovering his fundamentalist roots? And, specifically, what happens when they’re all in the same family? If that sounds familiar, it's because that family is the Baylani family, whose relationships with each other, their country and their cultures are explored in the novel, The Ruins of Us.

Local writer Keija Parssinen is something of a fixture on Columbia’s literary scene.