Books by Thomas Rayfiel

HARMS' WAY by Thomas Rayfiel
Released: Sept. 30, 2018

"Rayfiel's novel creates an ominous sense of the evil that men are capable of doing, but its tonal shifts sometimes trip it up along the way."
Rayfiel's novel blends the pulpy with the philosophical as it tells the story of the isolated life of an imprisoned murderer. Read full book review >
GENIUS by Thomas Rayfiel
Released: March 7, 2016

"A humorous novel about very unfunny things."
This genius has as many insecurities as the rest of us—and a quirky family that helps her address mortality. Read full book review >
IN PINELIGHT by Thomas Rayfiel
Released: Sept. 30, 2013

"An eloquent exploration of life seen through an aging man's eyes."
The mysteries of life in a small town are beautifully told through the monologue of an old man's musings. Read full book review >
TIME AMONG THE DEAD by Thomas Rayfiel
Released: June 1, 2010

"This fuzzy outline for a period melodrama is likely to disappoint admirers of Rayfiel's Eve trilogy. "
Skeletons rattle in the closet, while an ancient aristocrat struggles to understand a new generation. Read full book review >
PARALLEL PLAY by Thomas Rayfiel
Released: Jan. 16, 2007

"Smart, dark, daring fare."
A third installment in the adventures of Rayfiel's sassy heroine (Colony Girl, 1999; Eve in the City, 2003): part anti-romantic comedy, part meditation on postpartum miseries and the joys of motherhood. Read full book review >
EVE IN THE CITY by Thomas Rayfiel
Released: Sept. 1, 2003

"An enviably intelligent piece of writing."
Rayfiel's third novel continues the education of Eve from Colony Girl (1999). Read full book review >
COLONY GIRL by Thomas Rayfiel
Released: Sept. 1, 1999

Rayfiel (Split-Levels, 1994) restores his talent for the religious/sexual baroque to a place it fits perfectly—an isolationist Iowan religious commune, in which a 15-year-old girl begins to see things for what they are. Eve, the Colony girl of the title, is a splendid, sharply written creation: romantic enough to hope, innocent enough to hurt, and wise enough to move on. The Colony, located in tiny Arhat, is 'sixty-two of us," Eve says, "twelve families, refugees from a world that was out of control, trying to lead Christian lives." Eve's mother has a "past" with Gordon, the eccentric leader of the Colony, and charismatic Everclear slugger who perpetually wears shades. This mysterious balance is upset when Gordon announces his plans to marry Serena, Eve's best friend. While working a summer job on a road crew, Eve has a taste of the real world, and especially of Joey, a wounded, shy, teenaged dream with whom she intends to lose her virginity. While negotiating a peace between Joey and his father Herb, Eve finds herself adored by the father as well, and as this erotic contest is in play, she's determined to stop innocent Serena's marriage. She needs dirt on Gordon, and she gets it'somewhat improbably—by working in a business associate's strip-joint in exchange for information. The Colony is scandalized, and as the wedding ceremony begins, Eve confronts Gordon with her knowledge that he is, in fact, Jewish. She demands a no-fault release from the Colony; once free, she discovers Joey and Herb have left her behind for San Diego. Now fully on her own, she heads for New York City, "where the smart people live," she ironically adds. In a story strung tight with sexual and spiritual tension, Eve is a pleasure to watch on the page: credibly innocent, crafty and resilient, she rewards the term "plucky" with engaging meaning. Read full book review >
SPLIT-LEVELS by Thomas Rayfiel
Released: April 1, 1994

Recalled to his suburban hometown long years after moving to the city, Allen Stanley has neither time nor inclination to mourn the father who slit his wrists in the bathtub. Everybody in town seems to be coming on to him, from David Stanley's companionable next-door neighbor to a sexually precocious library aide to a transvestite funeral director. Word leaks out that Stanley päre was a pedophile who may have molested his missing daughter, Melissa. And an anonymous informant tells the police that Allen was back at the local lovers' lane a week before he said he was—just about the time David Stanley died. The hothouse atmosphere gets steamier as Allen's sexual memories erupt into the present, the aspiring partners preying on him begin to dissolve into each other, and he wonders whether he's slipping into a reenactment of the old man's life. Screenwriter Rayfiel's terse, slick, overheated first novel is heavy on portentous details and a grotesquely revisionist attitude toward the suburbs. All that's missing is David Lynch and John Hawkes sharing a soda at the malt shop. Read full book review >