Back to Wando Passo: A Novel (Paperback)

Staff Pick Badge
Back to Wando Passo: A Novel Cover Image
Usually Ships in 1-5 Business Days

Staff Reviews

A tour de force by the author of the compelling Early from the Dance and Ruin Creek. Returning to the South of his roots, Payne seamlessly and gracefully weaves two brilliantly engrossing stories - one contemporary, the other set during the Civil War - which converge at the end of the book. This passionate and elegant story is realistic with supernatural overtones - funny, heartbreaking, hard-hitting yet gentle.

— Barbara Morrow

Two stories about two couples, one living in modern times and one living in the Civil War era, both living on the same old southern plantation, intertwine beautifully and come together in a masterfully written ending. Rich in history and the folk lore of the old south, this is a wonderful book! — Liz Barnum


Hailed as "the most gifted American novelist of his generation" (Boston Globe), David Payne introduces us to Ransom Hill, a big-hearted, wild-man lead singer of a legendary indie rock group, who has come to South Carolina determined to save his marriage, his family, and himself. But back at Wando Passo, his wife's inherited family estate, things don't proceed according to plan. There's another man in the picture, and Ran's discovery of a mysterious relic from slave times transports him—and the reader—back into the story of another romantic triangle at Wando Passo that erupted violently at the height of the Civil War. Will the present repeat the past?

Filled with fast-paced adventure, lyrical writing, wicked humor, and unforgettable characters, David Payne's Back to Wando Passo propels the two love stories, linked by place through time, to a simultaneous crescendo of betrayal, revenge, and redemption.

About the Author

David Payne lives in North Carolina, and is the author of four previous novels: Confessions of a Taoist on Wall Street, which won the prestigious Houghton Mifflin Literary Fellowship Award; Early from the Dance; Ruin Creek; and Gravesend Light. He welcomes comments from readers, and is available to speak with your book club. He can be reached at

Praise For…

“A haunting portrait of the American South.”
— Vanity Fair

“Payne’s richly ornate Southern saga... fashions elaborate prose and touching characterization into an absorbing tale.”
Publishers Weekly

“Astonishing…Masterfully interweaving contemporary and 19th century story lines, Payne crafts a tragic, suspenseful tale of necessity and desire.”
— Lee Smith

“A luscious, engaging, and heartfelt novel with plenty to say about individual responsibility and the legacy of slavery.”
— Library Journal, Editor's Pick

“BACK TO WANDO PASSO is a mystery story inside a history story; a supernatural, psychological roller coaster ride ...Delicious.”
— Randall Kenan, author of A Visitation of Spirits and Walking on Water: Black American Lives at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century

“So bold in concept and audacious in scope that it seems like the summing up of a great writer’s career.”
— Pat Conroy

“The work of a master story teller who knows precisely what he wants to do ... First rate, original, and haunting.”
— Craig Nova

“A master fabulist, Payne hooks the reader like a wide-eyed catfish...a fine, twisty marvel.”
— Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Delicious...brilliant...held together by gorgeous writing...The most literate beach read of the year.”
Washington Post

“Big in ideas, lush in its poetic text, large in its expansive reach through centuries...Payne is irresistible.”
— The State (Columbia, MD)

“A complex and rich literary effort...could turn out to be both a best-seller and a modern masterpiece.”
— Durham-Herald Sun

“Destined to be a breakout publication...[Payne] is a master...Readers will gleefully embrace this book. It’s big. It’s exotic.”
— Asheville Citizen-Times

“A remarkable novel, written by a master craftsman. . . . not to be missed.”
— Raleigh News & Observer

Product Details
ISBN: 9780060851903
ISBN-10: 0060851902
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Publication Date: May 29th, 2007
Pages: 464
Language: English
Series: P.S.
Northshire Manchester Store

Northshire Manchester
4869 Main Street
Manchester Center, VT 05255
ph. 802.362.2200
ph. (toll free) 800.437.3700
Daily 10am-6pm
Directions to Manchester

Northshire Saratoga Store

Northshire Saratoga
424 Broadway
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
ph. 518.682.4200
ph. (toll free) 855.339.5990
Daily 10am-6pm
Directions to Saratoga Springs