Ruin Creek

Overview

In Ruin Creek, David Payne revisits North Carolina's Madden family.

Jimmy Madden, a fiercely independent high school basketball star with big dreams for his future, sees them dim one Fourth of July when his debutante girlfriend May Tilley tells him she is pregnant. Twelve years later, Jimmy grudgingly endures the workaday drudgery of his father-in-law's tobacco warehouse; May, equally dissatisfied, wonders if love alone can make, and save, a marriage. But it is young Joey who ...

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Overview

In Ruin Creek, David Payne revisits North Carolina's Madden family.

Jimmy Madden, a fiercely independent high school basketball star with big dreams for his future, sees them dim one Fourth of July when his debutante girlfriend May Tilley tells him she is pregnant. Twelve years later, Jimmy grudgingly endures the workaday drudgery of his father-in-law's tobacco warehouse; May, equally dissatisfied, wonders if love alone can make, and save, a marriage. But it is young Joey who bears the brunt of his parents' 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 in order to save himself."

Set in 1950's North Carolina, rich with the windswept beauty of its Outer Banks, Ruin Creek is a major work by one of the most insightful students of family writing fiction in America today. Writing in the contrapuntal voices of Joey, May, and Jimmy, David Payne examines the early life of characters from Gravesend Light, creating a portrait of a family that breaks apart, heals, and endures.

"Full of life, full of wisdom, full of words that singe, sing, and somehow console." (The Boston Globe)

"Masterful.... Somewhere between Faulkner and Conroy." (The Denver Post)

An unforgettable and moving odyssey into the life of a Southern family and the path a member of that family must take to escape devastation and find himself. Rich with the verdant beauty of North Carolina's Outer Banks, Ruin Creek takes its place beside The Prince of Tides and Cold Sassy Tree as a truly great Southern novel.

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Editorial Reviews

Boston Globe
David Payne may not be the most publicized American novelist homing in on 40, but he is certainly the most gifted… Ruin Creek is full of life, full of wisdom, full of words that singe, sing and somehow console… The strength of Ruin Creek is in the interplay of voices, the people, the rootedness in time and place that alone can support a flowering into the universal. There is a shimmer of nostalgia over the whole novel, and the glare of human cruelty cuts right through it, but neither cancels the other out… a rare achievement.
Providence Journal
This is an extraordinary work, richly textured and painfully precise in its rendering of emotion. Stories this brilliant are told only by the masters of fiction, a short list to which the name of David Payne now belongs.
Dallas Morning News
David Payne is the most gifted American novelist of his generation… he sets his literary table on the Carolina Outer Banks, a literary territory as palpable in these pages as Tobacco Road in Erskine Caldwell's works or the Salinas Valley in John Steinbeck's.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Payne's acclaimed novel tells of a troubled Southern family in North Carolina in the 1950s. Nov.
Library Journal
Payne here introduces us to characters we care about: Jimmy, the star high school athlete who dreams about becoming a writer; May, the lovely young daughter of a prosperous family whose mother keeps telling her to ``remember who you are''; and Joey, now 12, their unplanned son, conceived in the passion of teenage love. With honesty and compassion, these three narrate from their own perspectives the story of a failing marriage. May's parents are supportive; Jimmy's father kind but bowed by his jealous, sharp-tongued shrike of a wife. Payne Early from the Dance , LJ 9/1/89 beautifully portrays the 1950s beaches of North Carolina, and his description of this family, so full of love with all their faults, makes the reader ache for them. Highly recommended.-- Marion Hanscom, SUNY-Binghamton Lib.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385528122
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/1/1995
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

David Payne is the author of Gravesend Light, Early from the Dance, and Confessions of a Taoist on Wall Street,

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