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Early From the Dance
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Early From the Dance

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4.15  ·  Rating Details  ·  284 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
Adam Jenrette, thirty-one and a successful Manhattan artist, has been hiding from his past for too long. When a relative's death calls him home to North Carolina, he is pulled into an intense encounter with his own eighteen-year-old self and with the two most important people in his life -- Cary Kinlaw, his best boyhood friend, and Jane McCrae, the girl they both, disastro ...more
Paperback, 512 pages
Published February 13th 1991 by Ballantine Books (first published 1989)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 512)
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Aimee
Feb 01, 2010 Aimee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my all time favorite books. I re-read it about every 3 to 4 years. It was assigned for a Psychology of Relationships class in college, and I just really enjoyed the style of writing from three different perspectives. The love triangle of best friends is a common theme, but I love the way David Payne takes it to a different level by spanning different chronological perspectives and allowing you a full understanding of each character's psychological state throughout the story. I sti ...more
Kathy Winstead
May 18, 2012 Kathy Winstead rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This is my all time favorite book. I re-read it every year. The southern heritage, down home easy feeling of the characters, the many lessons learned, the youthful feelings and experiences, as well as the sadness of a suicide and how it affects each person is something you simply need to experience. If you can start the book with the thought that you are going to be reading total conversations between the characters, it will help you to stay on track until you get the feel of it.
Rick
Aug 19, 2012 Rick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First read this book 20 years ago and have returned to it every five or so years.... First picked it up because of the N.C author and connection - but found it hard to put down and read it the first time in only a couple of days. Hard to put a finger on why I liked this one so much - but a great read. I've read a couple of his other books and they are good reads as well - but nothing approaching this one...
jo _
Jun 20, 2009 jo _ rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Early From the Dance preached a multi-faceted perspective on life, constructed through each character's philosophies, one different from the next, their personalities and beliefs rooted in their past (Faulkneresque, oh my).

Adam/A.
(I would love to find a better quote, but I was lazy with this book and didn't mark in it as much as I usually do, perhaps because I didn't find as much meaning in it as other books, though it still carries a significant message. )

"'My love for Cary was a great thing,'
...more
Ginger
Jun 01, 2009 Ginger rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. Just finished the book. I wasn't able to put it down for the last 50-70 pages....and found myself skimming a lot just to find out what happened in the end. The book started out slow and strange and I didn't know where it was going. Then, it got really interesting, even though the situations were unfamiliar. (i.e. a lot of cocaine usage) But, it was a well-told story and included a lot of soul-searching of the characters. I re-read the first 30-50 pages when I was in about two-thirds of the ...more
Alex
Feb 02, 2015 Alex rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I always wanted to read this book ... It's quite lovely, old-fashioned in a way, not too too plotty, "character-driven," perhaps, w/ever that means. It reminded me a little of an over-long "Daniel Martin," which I remember as being pretty long itself. I like young love stories about three people ... true love ;)
Pam
Sep 05, 2011 Pam rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one
I'm going through my list of read books to attempt to review them and when this one came up, my first thought was I didn't like it. Since I read it in 2004, I went through other people's reviews in order to jog my memory so I could review it. I purchased it in 1998 but didn't read it until 2004 and I don't remember anything about it; usually once I read other's reviews, I remember at least something about the book. The majority of the reviews on Goodreads are great and people seem to love it but ...more
TOTO from Kansas
Characters were interesting enough to finish the book,but lots of foul language and drug use,once you got past those things it was an ok read.
Virginia
Sep 29, 2007 Virginia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My husband told me to read this book, as it was one of his favorites. I was dubious. I'm not a big fan of "literature" and these types of books usually bore me or make me gag or both.

I freakin LOVED this book. Loved loved loved it. I love it so much that I refused to let my husband get rid of my personal copy when we were consolidating our massive book collection to fit it into our tiny little NYC apartment.

It's beautifully written, gorgeously characterized... Just a gorgeous book. I need to re-
...more
Steve Minor
Aug 15, 2012 Steve Minor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I got an advance copy of this book when it was new and bought another one later - I like the main two characters, A. and Jane, and Jane's mom, and A's dad, and a few of the lesser characters, but not the weirdness of Cleanth and Morgan. My favorite part these days when I reread it is A's recollection of his dog Pete and crabbing with Pete and his mom, I read this aloud to my wife just the other night.
Ann
Sep 08, 2013 Ann rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought the writing was excellent. Unfortunately, the book is narrowly focused on the events of one summer, and their repercussions. The actions and reactions of the characters to the events seem unrealistically exaggerated and ultimately tiresome. After a while, I got tired of reading in such exquisite detail about them, and moved on.
Sofiawahaj
It was good, but I thought it dragged on a bit. It could have been condensed. The characters were well portrayed, but I couldn't really relate to any of them. I guess that is why I didn't really LOVE the book because I thought the characters all made stupid mistakes or choices. Overall though, it was very well written and captivating.
Dalee
Oct 29, 2007 Dalee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
this is the southern novel! makes me proud I am from Atlanta and was way to thoughtful at one time.
I even read it in a crappy small paperback and enjoyed every page. read it and then let me know what northern novel would be it's equal.
Candace
Aug 14, 2007 Candace rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I could not imagine relating to a book as much as I did when I read this book. David Payne as an amazing grasp on writing from a male and female perspective. His ability to describe relationships and emotions is amazing.
Charles Robbins
Sep 17, 2012 Charles Robbins rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
David Payne taught one of my MFA workshop semesters, and the experience was transformative. This book delivers the energy, forward motion and deep characterization that Payne moved me toward.
Staci
Oct 27, 2011 Staci rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I wasn't really motivated to finish this book so I can't say much about it except that it was slow moving and dull. Life is too short to read an entire book only to find it was just boring.
Twylapumroy Pumroy
Addresses suicide in a beautiful way... I wish everyone who was feeling that way could read a few of the lines arguing for waiting...
Janine
Jun 13, 2011 Janine rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A little more than half-way through. I am re-reading this after more than 20 years. It's very good so far.
Don (The Book Guy)
Jun 02, 2011 Don (The Book Guy) rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: outer-banks
I gave up on this one half way through. I just didn't care for the characters enough to finish the book.
Tammy
Aug 08, 2008 Tammy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow! At first I wasn't sure about the story, then it sucked me in and wow! Really enjoyed it!!
Mary
Sep 28, 2013 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-read
My husband recommended this book to me as a beautifully written book. It was.
Kim
Jan 08, 2016 Kim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the best book I've read in a long time. Absolutely fantastic book!
Adam Golding
Dec 04, 2012 Adam Golding rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wouldn't mind reading this little gem again given the chance. Thank ya sis
Olivia
Mar 24, 2008 Olivia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Southern writer, overall good, but a little slow in the middle.
Milosh
Jul 15, 2008 Milosh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
THIS IS EVERYTHING I HAVE EVER WANTED IN A BOOK. THIS IS IT!
Kaitlin
Apr 19, 2012 Kaitlin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Not my favorite. The writing and the plot just weren't my cup of tea.
Polly
Jun 30, 2015 Polly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
my favorite book by living author
Daphne
May 15, 2013 Daphne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting coming of age story.
Louisewhite
Mar 31, 2010 Louisewhite added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: any southerner who has had a broken heart
favorite book ever
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13167686
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: A Brother's Story, forthcoming from Grove Atlantic in August 2015. Visit his author web ...more
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