From New York Times notable author David Payne, “the most gifted American novelist of his generation” (Dallas Morning News), comes an astonishing memoir of brotherhood, grief, and mental illness
Barefoot to Avalon
978-0-8021-2517-0 • $16.00 • Paperback • Aug. 2016
“A defining voice for his generation . . . Payne is extraordinarily gifted.”
In 2000, while moving his household from Vermont to North Carolina, author David Payne watched from his rearview mirror as his younger brother, George A., driving behind him in a two-man convoy of rental trucks, lost control of his vehicle, fishtailed, flipped over in the road, and died instantly. Soon thereafter, David’s life entered a downward spiral that lasted several years. His career came to a standstill, his marriage disintegrated, and his drinking went from a cocktail hour indulgence to a full-blown addiction. He found himself haunted not only by George A.’s death, but also by his brother’s manic depression, a hereditary illness that overlaid a dark and violent family history whose roots now gripped David, threatening both his and his children’s futures. The only way out, he found, was to write about his brother.
Barefoot to Avalon is Payne’s earnest and unflinching account of George A. and their boyhood footrace that lasted long into their adulthood, defining their relationship and their lives. As universal as it is intimate, this is an exceptional memoir of brotherhood, of sibling rivalry and sibling love, and of the torments a family can hold silent and carry across generations. Barefoot to Avalon is a brave and beautifully wrought gift, a true story not only of survival in the face of adversity but of hard-won wisdom.