E-book – $18.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-3247-4

Trade Paper – $18.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-3246-7
Publication Date
February 2016
Page Count
240 pages
Trim Size
6 x 9


A Novel
Thomas Rayfiel

Kara Bell spent her youth plotting escape from Witch’s Falls, Arkansas. Relentless focus and the spurning of all emotional attachment led to the doctoral program in philosophy at Columbia University. But Kara’s careful plans are upended by cancer, and suddenly she is home again, where she finds herself subject to her mother’s suffocating care, her brother’s puzzling love life, the local doctor’s meddling, and the strong gravitational pull of her old friend and obsession, Christy Lee. Will Kara find health and sanity? Will she learn what really happened to her father? Can she escape Witch’s Falls a second time, or will she succumb to the slow poison of local kindness and Snickers Salad?

In Genius, Thomas Rayfiel finds both poignancy and dark humor in deathly illness, family secrets, organized religion, parenting, abortion, gossip, senility, and the mysterious rhythms of small-town life.

About the Author

Thomas Rayfiel is the author of six previous novels, including In Pinelight (Northwestern, 2013), Time Among the Dead, and The Eve Trilogy (Colony Girl, Eve in the City, and Parallel Play). He lives in Brooklyn.

“Rayfiel is a shape-shifting writer. After the beautiful and mysterious monologue of In Pinelight (2013), his last novel, this new work presents what amounts to a morbidly funny conversation…Rayfiel creates clear and memorable characters through their banter.” —Kirkus Reviews 

"Both deeply affecting and rat-a-tat sharp, this new work from Rayfiel (In Pinelight) will ­entertain all readers."
Library Journal

“… Rayfiel’s writing capably delivers complex themes like inheritance, sexuality, and disease through the vessels of relatable, contemporary characters and accessible prose.” —Chicago Review of Books

"What's remarkable in Genius is Rayfiel's ability to sharply depict and undermine the conventional at once, to make the normal at once utterly familiar, hilariously weird and heartbreakingly poignant—like life." —Minneapolis Star Tribune

"Old-fashioned intricacies and surprises of plot are high on the list of this novel's pleasures."  —Valerie Sayers, author of Brain Fever and Who Do You Love