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Cover for The Unraveling of Mercy Louis

The Unraveling of Mercy Louis

A Novel

Keija Parssinen

Hardcover

List Price: 25.99*
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Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (1/26/2016)

Description

Winner of a 2016 Alex Award 

Named a Best Book of 2015 by the Kansas City Star

In this intricate novel of psychological suspense, a fatal discovery near the high school ignites a witch-hunt in a Southeast Texas refinery town, unearthing communal and family secrets that threaten the lives of the town’s girls.

In Port Sabine, the air is thick with oil, superstition reigns, and dreams hang on making a winning play. All eyes are on Mercy Louis, the star of the championship girls’ basketball team. Mercy seems destined for greatness, but the road out of town is riddled with obstacles. There is her grandmother, Evelia, a strict evangelical who has visions of an imminent Rapture and sees herself as the keeper of Mercy’s virtue. There are the cryptic letters from Charmaine, the mother who abandoned Mercy at birth. And then there’s Travis, the boy who shakes the foundation of her faith.

At the periphery of Mercy’s world floats team manager Illa Stark, a lonely wallflower whose days are spent caring for a depressed mother crippled in a refinery accident. Like the rest of the town, Illa is spellbound by Mercy’s beauty and talent, but a note discovered in Mercy’s gym locker reveals that her life may not be as perfect as it appears.

The last day of school brings the disturbing discovery, and as summer unfolds and the police investigate, every girl becomes a suspect. When Mercy collapses on the opening night of the season, Evelia prophesies that she is only the first to fall, and soon, other girls are afflicted by the mysterious condition, sending the town into a tailspin, and bringing Illa and Mercy together in an unexpected way.

Evocative and unsettling, The Unraveling of Mercy Louis charts the downfall of one town’s golden girl while exploring the brutality and anxieties of girlhood in America.



Praise For The Unraveling of Mercy Louis: A Novel

“An impeccably rendered depiction of the strains of adolescence. . . . Broadly relevant to our present cultural moment . . . This is a beautifully written, humane, and extremely compelling book.”
— Emily St. John Mandel, Book of the Month pick

“Rapturous. . . . Like a deft Texas two-step, Parssinen’s work swings through local terror and youthful awakening.”
Time Out New York

“Blend H.G. Bissinger’s “Friday Night Lights” and Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible” with Laura Moriarty’s “The Center of Everything” and you would have the flavor of this atmospheric book.”
Kansas City Star

“The finest Salem-inspired novel since Esther Forbes’ 1928 A Mirror for Witches. . . . Parssinen keeps her plot tight (and increasingly unsettling, even creepy), she never lets her characters become mere chess pieces, and she is near perfect in portraying her swampy southeast Texas setting.”
Dallas Morning News

“Beautiful and awful, enraging and sad, atmospheric and page-turning: an accomplished novel.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“I devoured The Unraveling of Mercy Louis. It is everything I hope for in a book: beautifully written, loaded with suspense, and filled with characters I cared deeply about. A great novel that I will be recommending to everyone.”
— Kathleen Grissom, New York Times Bestselling author of The Kitchen House

“Urgent, deliciously dark and sumptuously gothic. . . . Like the girls on Mercy’s basketball team, who ‘balance so perfectly between control and chaos,’ Parssinen has an intuitive grasp of language’s vital rhythms.”
New York Times Book Review

“Beautifully written and skillfully crafted, The Unraveling of Mercy Louis is a compelling tale of longing and loss that evocatively examines the harsh realities of female adolescence.”
— Kimberly McCreight, New York Times bestselling author of Reconstructing Amelia

“Past crimes run a dark thread through this coming-of-age fable that calls to mind Laura Lippman’s stand-alone novels and even The Scarlet Letter. Parssinen excels here at capturing the dueling emotions that rule teenage girls’ relationships, and the dire consequences of societal pressures.”
Booklist

The Unraveling of Mercy Louis is the story of a Texas town that fears everything its girls offer. A deft and thoughtful novel of feints and dodges about a community brought to its knees by prejudice, disappointments, and a past that can’t be changed.”
— Miranda Beverly-Whittemore, New York Times bestselling author of Bittersweet

Harper, 9780062319098, 336pp.

Publication Date: March 10, 2015



About the Author

Keija Parssinen is the author of The Ruins of Us, which won a Michener-Copernicus Award. Raised in Saudi Arabia and Texas, she is a graduate of Princeton University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was a Truman Capote Fellow. Parssinen is an assistant professor of English at Kenyon College, where she teaches fiction writing.