Gravesend Light

“David Payne is rapidly earning himself a place high on the list of excellence among American authors writing serious fiction… [Reminiscent] of Pat Conroy or perhaps a Southern John Irving.” –The Winston-Salem Journal
Twenty-eight-year-old anthropologist, Joe Madden– whom readers first met as eleven-year-old Joey in Payne’s 1993 novel, Ruin Creek— has returned to his family’s summer home on North Carolina’s Outer Banks to begin a new ethnographic study.
Joe’s subject is Little Roanoke, an isolated coastal fishing village threatened by the encroachment of modern civilization. Here he meets two people who will alter the course of his future: Ray Bristow, a fisherman and ex-con who teaches Joe more then just the ropes of one of the world’s most dangerous professions; and Day Shaughnessey, a Yale-educated OB-GYN and ardent feminist whose pro-choice views are at odds with the deeply religious people of Little Roanoke. As Joe and Day embark on a passionate love affair, his growing respect for the villagers’ traditions, their heritage of pride and sacrifice, comes sharply into conflict with Day’s liberal beliefs.
Culminating in a savage winter storm at sea, Gravesend Light is an unforgettable story of family, love, heroism and personal redemption.“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 novel reaches its climax in an explosively told disaster at sea that makes it clear there are no perfect storms. Payne is a rough, but trustworthy captain, and this is a story that rolls and pitches through all the moral waves of modern life.” –Ron Charles, The Christian Science Monitor

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