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The Defining Moment
published in 2000
127 pages
, hard cover

The Defining Moment cover

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The Defining Moment, Payne's first novel and the first in the Slim McCall Trilogy, tells the story of young Slim McCall—a misconnected youth who finds companionship in a fire-scarred old woman and seeks solace in school, work, adventures, and escapist entertainment provided by five movie houses in a small southeastern Mississippi town.

The book chronicles his experiences as he travels from town to town throughout the southern region (and beyond) piling lesson on lesson until at last, while musing on the crest of a hill in eastern Tennessee, he discovers the true source of his earlier misconnection. It is in this moment that Slim McCall must come to terms with who he really is and the direction his life must take.

• • • • • • • • •

It was late evening. Slim and Alma walked westward along the beach toward the Biloxi lighthouse. The tide could barely be heard in its ebb and flow. The seagulls and pelicans flashed white as they dipped in and out of the water along the shoreline, their sounds discordant, surreal and yet unexplainably harmonious and natural. He told her about his decision to return to school.

an excerpt from
The Defining Moment

 


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