Just Off Elysian Fields



Antoine, a thirty-something New Orleanian, needs to find meaning. He’s out of prison and trying to carve out a life, but he remains crippled by guilt and drink. This all changes when he learns his aged best friend Pharoah, a semi-homeless street performer, is dying. Pharoah’s last wish is for Antoine to find his estranged nineteen-year-old daughter Maybelle, with whom Pharoah has not spoken for fourteen years. Maybelle, a dreamer from New Orleans’ tough Sixth Ward, fled the city a month and a half prior, when Hurricane Katrina destroyed what remained of everything she knew.

During their respective journeys through the otherworldly Mississippi and Arkansas Delta regions, Antoine and Maybelle confront both their own painful pasts and a dangerous drifter named DeSoto. For Antoine, the ultimate cost of finding purpose could be his own life. Though if he succeeds, Maybelle is poised for a new beginning.

Buy Just Off Elysian Fields

What people are saying about Just Off Elysian Fields

Narrated by a trio of lyrical voices, Just Off Elysian Fields traces a harrowing journey in search of a missing daughter. Though a tale of tragedy, guilt, and suffering, Thomas’s gripping novel offers in its violent conclusion both redemption and hope of reunion.

John Biguenet, author of Oyster and playwright of the Rising Water Trilogy


These characters are full of the spirit of centuries of trauma that black folks face. Their journey to find place and belonging, and remembering the joy of their people all the while, knowing that it was all once real… it is truly hopeful.

Ifeoma Udoh, PhD, Anthropologist and Public Health Expert


In prose that is at once gritty and big-hearted, author Woodlief Thomas asks us to consider not where home is, but who. This is an utterly transporting, emotionally compelling debut.

Barb Johnson, author of More of This World or Maybe Another

Thomas made me remember certain parts of my life that had been lost, and made me remember the beauty in ugly things. The relationship between Maybelle and her mother especially got me.

Chris James, award-winning poet and writer of the play Dear Black People