by Thomas Rayfiel
Northwestern University Press, 2016
eISBN: 978-0-8101-3247-4 | Paper: 978-0-8101-3246-7
Library of Congress Classification PS3568.A9257G46 2016
Dewey Decimal Classification 813.54


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.

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