Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday Freebie: The Ruins of Us by Keija Parssinen

Congratulations to Kim Anderson, winner of last week's Friday Freebie: Witches on the Road Tonight by Sheri Holman.

This week's book giveaway is the debut novel The Ruins of Us by Keija Parssinen.  I've been intrigued by this book ever since the advance reading copy landed on my doorstep a couple of weeks ago.  The story revolves around oil and marriage (sometimes, but not always, the same thing as "oil and water").  Specifically, it deals with Saudi oil and marriages with "extra wives."  Here's the jacket copy from Harper Perennial:
Set in oil-rich Saudi Arabia amid an unprecedented wave of terrorist violence, and exploring the loneliness of expatriatism and the immeasurable dangers of intolerance, The Ruins of Us is a timely story about the universality of family and the injustices we endure for love. More than two decades after moving to Saudi Arabia and marrying Abdullah al-Baylani, Rosalie learns that her husband has taken a second wife, beautiful Palestinian Isra. The discovery plunges the powerful family into chaos as Rosalie grapples with leaving Saudi Arabia, her life, and her family behind. Meanwhile, Abdullah and Rosalie's consuming personal entanglements blind them to the crisis approaching their sixteen-year-old son, Faisal, who is growing increasingly involved with a controversial sheikh. When Faisal makes an ill-fated choice that could destroy everything his embattled family holds dear, all must confront difficult truths as they fight to preserve what remains of their love.

Here are some of the nice things people have been saying about Parssinen's first novel:

“Parssinen’s gripping, well-crafted debut tracks the awakening of a Saudi Arabian family to the dangers that lurk within....Parssinen deftly illuminates Saudi Arabian life through a family locked in a battle over morality and cultural chasms.”  (Publishers Weekly)

“Parssinen convincingly inhabits the shifting moods of her characters....Throughout, her prose is artful without being showy, forced, or melodramatic, and her knowledge of Saudi culture informs the story.”  (Kirkus Reviews)

“A big, brave novel, Keija Parssinen’s The Ruins of Us takes us behind the compound walls of Saudi Arabia and into the secret passions that threaten to tear one family apart.  Step into Parssinen’s sensual prose and be transported.”   (Anna Solomon, author of The Little Bride)

The Ruins of Us is a stunning debut novel--a love story that spans continents. Parssinen teaches us that while cultural differences run deep, when it comes to matters of the heart, we are all the same. I was dazzled by this book.”  (Amanda Eyre Ward, author of Close Your Eyes)

If you'd like a chance to win Parssinen's novel and be dazzled by her story, all you have to do is answer this simple biographical question:

Where was Parssinen born?  (You can find the answer by visiting the author's website HERE)

Email your answer to

Put FRIDAY FREEBIE in the e-mail subject line.  One entry per person, please.  Please e-mail me the answer, rather than posting it in the comments section.  Despite its name, the Friday Freebie runs all week long and remains open to entries until midnight on Jan. 19--at which time I'll draw the winning name.  I'll announce the lucky reader on Jan. 20.  If you'd like to join the mailing list for the once-a-week Quivering Pen newsletter, simply add the words "Sign me up for the newsletter" in the body of your email.  Your email address and other personal information will never be sold or given to a third party.

Want to double your odds of winning?  Get an extra entry in the contest by posting a link to this webpage on your Facebook wall or by tweeting it on Twitter.  Once you've done either or both of those, send me an additional e-mail saying "I've shared" and I'll put your name in the hat twice.

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