Confessions of a Taoist on Wall Street

From the tranquility of an Oriental monastery to the tumult of the New York Stock Exchange, the hero of this amazing novel embarks on a quest for a father, a fortune, and the ultimate essence of the universe. The illegitimate son of a Chinese woman and an American officer, he was reared as an orphan by Taoist monks. When he learns that his father may be a wealthy Wall Street entrepreneur, he feels compelled to go to New York . His efforts to reconcile his two lives — to find the Tao within the Dow — make a story rich in character, wit, and insight.

“David Payne’s first novel reads like the happy collaboration of the eastern mystic Lao Tzu and the discount broker Charles Schwab, a hybrid of the I Ching and How to Profit from the coming Stock Market Crash co-written by a prophet and a profiteer. I marvel at Payne’s virtuosity, his technical brilliance, his enormous ambition. Take a tip: his stock is bound to rise.”
The Dallas Morning News

“The novel, with its glorious style and rich profusion of detail, should remind readers of the time, fading into memory, when the works of John Barth began to burst on the literary horizon. It is a book to be read twice, first to be gulped down in great chunks during sleepless nights; later to be sipped slowly, savoring details, like a well-brewed cup of tea.”
The Washington Post

“Exuberant…Stay with it, you’ll see the makings of a young Charles Dickens — a consummate storyteller in love with language and with all the variations of life, people, and improbable situations.”
Business Week

Barefoot to Avalon

“An elegy to a brother that plumbs depths beyond depths — a fever-dream of a memoir, a blazing map of familial love and loss, headlong and heartbreaking and gorgeously written.”

— James Kaplan

Back to Wando Passo

Back to Wando Passo quivers with authentic life and is so bold in concept and audacious in scope that it seems like the summing up and exclamation point of a great writer’s career. The novel contains everything — from the horror of 1860s rice culture slavery, to the perils of modern love, to the history of rock and roll . . . Payne takes on the whole known world and pulls it off with the deftness of a writer in his prime.”

–Pat Conroy

Gravesend Light

“If you don’t belong to a book club, start one with this book… the grains of this plot eventually gain an irresistible momentum till it begins to move like an avalanche, crashing toward a spectacular natural disaster and a moral calamity.”

–The Christian Science Monitor

Ruin Creek

“I begin with what may seem a bold observation: David Payne is the most gifted American novelist of his generation. Ruin Creek is the best new novel I’ve read this year. As in Early from the Dance, he sets his literary table on the Carolina Outer Banks, a literary territory as palpable in these pages as. the Salinas Valley in John Steinbeck’s.”

—The Dallas Morning News

Early from the Dance

“Reading stretches of Early From the Dance is like attending a play in which every line is a curtain line.  Payne has the deepest human sympathy for his characters and knowledge of the heart; everyone in this book comes alive… Payne is extraordinarily gifted.”

–The Boston Globe

Confessions of a Taoist on Wall Street