Brain Fever

Trade Paper – $16.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-2722-7
Publication Date
October 2013
Page Count
320 pages
Trim Size
6 x 9

Brain Fever

A Novel

Something old and something new mark Sayers's fifth novel (after The Distance Between Us), which will, sadly, leave most readers blue. Here, Sayers takes leave of Due East, S.C., the setting of her previous novels, but revisits schizophrenic Tim Rooney, the aging philosophy professor of How I Got Him Back. When narrator Rooney's 27-year-old girlfriend, Baptist-turned-atheist Mary Faith Rapple, insists on marrying him in a Catholic church, Rooney panics and heads for New York City in search of his first wife. Driving his father's car and fighting for sanity, the fugitive encounters Angela, a blonde hitchhiker fleeing her own date at the altar. With Rooney in the throes of a nervous breakdown, the pair wind up in an upscale Soho loft, house guests of artsy S.C. expatriates. As he roams the city in a sometimes hallucinatory state, Rooney meets a former student, finds his ex-wife and suffers a succession of burlesque sexual failures. Meanwhile, at the insistence of Due East's aging Catholic priest, Mary Faith heads north to save her lover. Sayers's prose is bracing as always here.
About the Author

Valerie Sayers is the author of five novels: Due East; How I Got Him Back, or, Under the Cold Moon's Shine; Who Do You Love; The Distance Between Us; and Brain Fever. Who Do You Love and Brain Fever were named New York Times "Notable Books of the Year," and a film, Due East, was based on her novels Due East and How I Got Him Back. She has received a Pushcart Prize for fiction and a National Endowment for the Arts literature fellowship and has served on two NEA literature panels. Her stories, essays, and reviews appear widely in such journals as Zoetrope, Ploughshares, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Commonweal, and have been cited in Best American Short Stories and Best American Essays.


Immensely rich, readable….Large ambition, compassion and psychological depth, not to mention the pleasures of Valerie Sayers’s graceful prose.– New York Times Book Review (A "Notable Book of the Year")