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By Keija Parssinen

Saudi-born writer Keija Parssinen’s wonderful debut bargains the difficult, emotionally resonant tale of an American expatriate who discovers that her husband, a Saudi billionaire, has taken a moment bride—an emotionally turbulent revelation that blinds them either to their teenaged son’s ominous first steps down the line of radicalization. Readers of The Septembers of Shiraz will be captivated through Parssinen’s tale of affection and betrayal, fundamentalism, relations and nation within the center East. Anthony Swofford, writer of Jarhead, hails Parssinen’s characters as “richly conceived, and her evocative petrol universe of wealth, privilege, and intrigue is unforgettable,” characterizing The Ruins people as having “powerful storytelling that's fresh and entertaining.”

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She had all started with tiny Buddhas and forest-colored combs, then small jade horses. Now life-sized emperors in rippling stone gowns littered the women’s sitting room, their mustaches tender, belying their obscene measurement. considering the fact that Islam forbade representational artwork, it used to be tricky to smuggle them into the rustic, yet she instructed Faisal her mystery: She had labored out a approach with Miteb Biltagi and she or he had her statues shipped to Biltagi Brothers’ Grocery in large vegetable crates. Customs by no means explored past the “Eggplant” stickers. whereas she had defined, he’d winced at each flat, overseas vowel that made it so painfully noticeable she had now not grown up studying Arabic in a Saudi institution. For all her years at the kingdom Oil compound, she may possibly besides were in Texas, thus far faraway from Saudi tradition was once the expat adventure. but, there has been a time whilst he had enjoyed her voice and how it tumbled over the phrases too quickly. It reminded him of an oud performed underwater, the notes packed with feeling yet garbled. while she learn to him as a boy, it were appealing, her head relocating up and down for emphasis, her crimson hair like God’s burnishing. As a baby, he remembered considering the hair should have been how his father stumbled on her, sparkling amidst a sea of darkish heads. Umma, the lighthouse. Now he felt that her purple hair was once simply one other indicator of her extravagant style. He may possibly rarely blame his father for taking a moment spouse whose Arabic was once ideal, whose hair fell darkish because the evening sky over the Rub’ al-Khali. The jet of a sprinkler machine-gunned its approach around the sliding-glass door resulting in the courtyard. He checked his watch. the home was once nonetheless as sunrise. He stood from the couch, glided alongside the tile flooring and during the Moroccan archway keeping apart the lounge from the lobby. the home had all started to frighten him. Its opulence felt contagious. If merely he’d been born terrible and pious within the mountains of Lebanon or the wadis of Jordan, existence will be a long way easier. There, he could simply have prayer, and America’s presence might were much less strongly felt. In Switzerland, while he’d informed the Turkish cabbie the place he used to be from, the guy had scoffed and acknowledged “America, Arabia, same-same. Same-same,” shaking his hand like he was once throwing anything away. in the course of his 9 months in Bern, he’d grown bloated consuming filigreed chocolate and cheese webbed like lace. He’d worn pricey watches and sipped Armagnac with the sons of Greek delivery magnates. He’d felt up to now from domestic. with out the constitution of kin or Islam’s assistance, he’d grown unmoored. In a spot the place something was once attainable, the place God used to be absent, he’d permit himself be borne alongside, his physique and brain bending simply into pleasure’s many shapes. The faded boys known as him le maghrébin or le cabot and so they have been consistently hungry for the worst tales approximately Saudi Arabia. He attempted to give an explanation for to them that he had by no means obvious anyone’s head chopped off, and that ladies weren't saved prisoners of their houses, however the boys may simply chuckle at him, at his halting French, and pour him one other finger of Armagnac.

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