Ruin Creek

A powerful, lyrical novel that is a joy to read.” – The New York Times Book Review
The Washington Post writes that “David Payne understands that place most families inhabit—somewhere between love and necessity, between truth and myth, between self and the expectations, the dreams, and ultimately, the separateness of others.” In Ruin Creek David Payne revisits North Carolina ’s windswept Outer Banks, setting of his 1989 novel Early from the Dance, and introduces readers to the Madden family.
Writing in the contrapuntal voices of eleven-year-old Joey and his parents, May and Jimmy, David Payne portrays a family that breaks apart, heals and endures. Joey bears the burdens of his parents’ increasingly unhappy union. As he struggles to cope with his fractured family life, Joey turns to his grandfather, who explains that “a time may come when a person has to let go of what he loves to save himself.”
“Imbued with Payne’s trademark lyrical prose and psychological acuity, this is a novel “full of life, full of wisdom, full of words that singe, sing and somehow console” (The Boston Globe).
“A master stylist, Payne breathes life into his material, cloaking it in rich, evocative prose and deftly drawing us into his world until, suddenly, we realize that this is our family, these are our own tragic flaws.”
Richmond Times-DispatchStories this brilliant are told only by the masters of fiction, a short list to which the name of David Payne now belongs.”
The Providence Journal

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

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