From a New York Times Notable author comes a “fiercely honest . . . and utterly heartbreaking” memoir of brotherhood, grief, and mental illness (Jay McInerney).
In 2000, while moving his household from Vermont to North Carolina, author 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 entered a downward spiral that lasted several years. 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 and violent family history whose roots now gripped David, threatening both his and his children’s futures. The only way out, he found, was to write about his brother.
This is the “piercing . . . tour de force” account of David and George A.’s boyhood footrace that lasted long into their adulthood, defining their relationship and their lives (Los Angeles Times). As universal as it is intimate, this is an exceptional memoir of sibling rivalry and sibling love, and of the torments a family can hold silent and carry across generations. A story not only of survival in the face of adversity but of hard-won wisdom, Barefoot to Avalon is “an elegy to a brother that plumbs depths beyond depths—a fever-dream of a memoir, a blazing map of familial love and loss, headlong and heartbreaking and gorgeously written” (James Kaplan, national bestselling author of Frank: The Voice and Sinatra: The Chairman).