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The Sound of Blue takes readers on an exquisite and soulful journey into a rare part of the world, exploring the healing power of music in the lives of three strangers during the last Balkan War.

“Payne employs flourishes of figurative language and poetic musings on the nature of refuge and memory.”
Booklist

“Against a background of stark wartime imagery, Payne laces her tale with poetic musings on the healing and redemptive power of love.”
Deborah Donovan, American Library Association

“Holly Payne’s greatest achievement in “The Sound of Blue” is to move the story beyond the never-ending volleys of who-did-what-to-whom into a realm where the only thing that really matters is not whether her characters are Serb or Croat but that they are refugees.”
San Francisco Chronicle

“I feel like I know Luka as well as Payne does because I am a “Luka.” Like every character in Payne’s novel, I understand what it means to be a refugee, and how we are all survivors of the assembly of the hurts and slights that define us. Payne’s insightful and vividly detailed story reminds us of our common daily struggle to ensure our triumphs outpace our disappointments.”
David Breshears, Everest mountaineer, cinematographer, author of High Exposure

“Here is a courageous, compassionate new voice filled with elegant and assured prose. Payne is a masterful storyteller who proves again to tackle ambitious subject matter with great delicacy.”
Ishmael Reed, winner of the McCarthy Genius Award

“The book’s heart matches its author’s – expansive and exploding with passion. Payne’s understanding of music, especially rhythm, rings true on every page.”
Liberty DeVitto, drummer of The NYC Hit Squad and formerly of Billy Joel

“With Holly’s intimate and poetic writing, book reader groups can comfortably travel to the tension of unfamiliar places….”
Rachel Jacobsohn, Association of Book Group Readers and Leaders and author of The Reading Group Handbook