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Early From The Dance Hardcover – August 25, 1989


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 493 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; 1st edition (August 25, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385264178
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385264174
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.6 x 1.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #584,114 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

There are so many passages of fluent, graceful writing and sensitive insights in this second novel by the author of Confessions of a Taoist on Wall Street , that some readers may be willing to forgive its vastly overwritten length. Th e story of a young man's coming-of-agestet hyphens per Websters as he suffers through a love triangle is both exasperating--self-indulgent, cliched and sentimental--and satisfying; Payne is a natural raconteur with a pitch-perfect ear and a flair for evocative description. Thirteen years ago, when all the principals were 18, Adam Jenrette, called A., and Jane McCrae were horrified when A.'s best friend and Jane's former lover, Cary Kinlaw, committed suicide after learning that the two had betrayed him. Though A. went on to New York to achieve fame as an artist (painting has played such a small part in his life as revealed in flashback, we don't believe in his career for a minute), inner demons relating to his mother's death, his father's humiliation, and his guilt about Cary, cause a near breakdown. He returns home to Killdeer, N.C., where he again encounters Jane and continues his downward slide, helped by large quantities of cocaine. When he isn't writing endless paragraphs of adolescent conversation full of raunchy language, related in "and I said, and he said" style, Payne creates memorable characters and puts some interesting spins on his story. Not as capable as Frank Conroy, to whom he will be compared, Payne may someday give him a run for the money. Literary Guild main selection; major ad/promo; author tour.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Successful 32-year-old New York artist Adam returns to his North Carolina home to confront first-love Jane and relive their eighteenth summer, when Adam and Cary were still best friends and Jane was Cary's girl. By the end of that summer, Jane and Adam had fallen in love, causing guilt that was only fueled by Cary's suicide three years later. In examining their feelings for Cary and for each other now, both finally grow up, arriving at a mature love that keeps them in the dance of life that Cary left early. Although well written, especially in the last chapters, this second novel (Payne's first was Confessions of a Taoist on Wall Street , LJ 11/1/84) is overlong. It's also hard to care enough about Jane and Adam, initially so self-centered, to struggle through all their angst-filled flashbacks, despite the satisfying end. Purchase where demand exists.
- M.J. Simmons, Duluth P.L., Minn.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

David Payne was born in North Carolina and attended the Phillips Exeter Academy and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is the author of five novels-- Confessions of a Taoist on Wall Street, Early From the Dance, Ruin Creek, Gravesend Light, Back to Wando Passo--and a memoir, Barefoot to Avalon, forthcoming from Grove Atlantic in 2015. He lives in North Carolina with his family. Visit his author website at www.davidpaynebooks.com.

Linda Barrett Osborne, Washington Post Book World:
"[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... Writing this fine evokes a past time, but also a state of boyhood that is timeless."

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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This one of the best written books I've read.
R. Hodge
This is the second time I've reviewed this book - it's the best book I've read and continues to stay with me.
eos@mailandnews.com
This is the second David Payne book that I've read.
W. Rabeneck

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 3, 1999
Format: Paperback
David Payne's characters and prose speak so closely to me that I get Goosebumps every time I read this book. An absolutely amazing piece of Southern literature. This is, without a doubt, my favorite novel of all time. Filled with so much intelligent, touching, heart-tugging prose, you will no doubt feel compelled to go out and buy everything that David Payne has ever written. I honestly can't go into my local Barnes and Noble without at least casually wondering by the "P" section to verify that another David Payne novel isn't finally available. Payne's brilliant use of imagery is so mesmerizing, powerful and compelling that you'll never want this novel to come to an end. `Early from the dance' is a vivid, honest, oh-so-bittersweet novel that you will ALWAYS remember. Read this book!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 30, 2001
Format: Paperback
I first read this book when I was barely out of my teens and I can tell you each and every place I occupied while turning these pages. It is a book that has stayed with me and haunts me often in my wondering whatever became of A.
I, too, as another reviewer, cannot journey a bookstore without browsing the shelf where I find this author and always, always hope he will have published something new and memorable since my last visit.
A must read for real readers - an excellent travel/beach/late night with the flu book! Get it!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 7, 1998
Format: Paperback
This book is, without a doubt, the most thought provoking, intriquing work of fiction I've had the pleasure to read. As a southern girl who lives for my vacations on the Outer Banks, I FELT this book. My family knows not to even TRY to talk to me on vacation when this book is in my hands (I read it each trip). I only loan my copy to friends who I know will "get it" so we can discuss it later. This is such a true depiction of growing up southern style, and coming of age in a simple place with complicated issues. It's a read for anyone. I also read Ruin Creek, and was disappointed. I guess Early from the Dance was hard to top. Am eagerly awaiting the next book from David Payne.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 7, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was fortunate enough to stumble on this book shortly after it was published. Since then I have read it several times and have passed it on, purchased it for friends, and generally reveled in the riveting tale and superb prose. Segments read like romantic poetry. It evokes that special time in everyone's life when romance is all and all things seem possible. David Payne is an incredibly talented writer with the rare gift of being able to tear your heart out with a phrase. I admired his talent when I discovered him. I admire it even more now. Read it. You will cherish the experience.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By brendamLr@aol.com on January 21, 2000
Format: Paperback
I have read this book 3 times and love it. I want to read MORE novels by David Payne. I am eagerly awaiting a new novel. I will be the first in line. True and very realistic of becoming an early adult, love and tribulations. I value this book and will always keep it in my collection.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By LBM on August 29, 2002
Format: Paperback
I have read thousands of fiction books in my life, and can honestly say (though I have nothing in common with these white, Southern, American characters) that this is in the top ten, of the best books I have ever read. Few pieces of fiction have ever emotionally moved me as much.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Tessa Edwards on May 15, 1999
Format: Paperback
I've ordered hundreds of books through Amazon (living in Darkest Africa, without television, is a brilliant place to get hooked on books!) and David Payne's "Early to the Dance" is by far the best I've read this year. It is sublime. A masterpiece. "A symphony" as Newsweek puts it so well. Lyrical, poetic and utterly gripping. I totally loved every moment and it left me longing for more of David Payne's work. I have now gone on to T.C. Boyle's "Riven Rock" and am PLODDING. David Payne is a hard act to follow.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By "timandkitsie" on March 10, 2001
Format: Paperback
There are novels that just suck you in. Often that is because of conscience identification with characters and themes. That is exactly why I am puzzled by my adoration of this novel- I cannot find myself in any of David Payne's players. I am a born-and-raised Yankee who went to college in the South and started my professional life in Norhtern California, but when Payne talks of youthful passion and struggle in Coastal Carolina, he instantly familiarized me with places I have never been, but have always known.
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