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Barefoot to Avalon : A Brother's Story
by David Payne


Overview - An Amazon Best Book of 2015, A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2015
A brave book with beautiful sentences on every page. "New York Times"
Piercing...a tour de force. "Los Angeles Times"
In 2000, while moving his household from Vermont to North Carolina, 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.
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More About Barefoot to Avalon by David Payne
 
 
 
Overview
An Amazon Best Book of 2015, A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2015
A brave book with beautiful sentences on every page. "New York Times"
Piercing...a tour de force. "Los Angeles Times"
In 2000, while moving his household from Vermont to North Carolina, 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 hit a downward spiral. 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 family history whose roots now gripped David.
"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 rivalries and sibling love, and of the torments a family can hold silent and carry across generations.
"

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780802123541
  • ISBN-10: 0802123546
  • Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press
  • Publish Date: August 2015
  • Page Count: 304


Related Categories

Books > Biography & Autobiography > Personal Memoirs

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2015-05-18
  • Reviewer: Staff

A writer ponders his family's legacy of abusive marriage, sibling rivalry, madness and death in this bleakly moving memoir. Novelist Payne (Ruin Creek) arranges the narrative around his brother George's repeated episodes of manic-depression and psychosis, which blighted his promising life before he died in a car crash in front of Payne. Powering their often close but sometimes jealous relationship are the fraught dynamics of their parents' troubled marriage; their father's manipulation of his sons into competing for his affection; and the bad blood of their mother's well-to-do North Carolina family, with their background of insanity and suicide. And spreading out from all this is the author's own life story as he tries to escape the family drama yet finds himself recapitulating it in his own alcoholism and rocky relationships. There's a novelistic intensity to the story, with Payne dwelling on vivid recollected scenes, recreating their atmospherics and teasing out every buried emotional tremor and element of foreshadowing, but his prose also has the rawness of a confessional and a self-lacerating impulse to expose his own guilt and unmet neediness. Writing with a mixture of clear-eyed realism and lyrical elegy, Payne shows how a family's pain, resentment, and loss get transmuted into love. Photos. (Aug.)

 
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