"It’s a downmarket version of Ben Kunkel’s Indecision, with less surety but real vibrancy." —PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
"No matter if you didn’t catch the first book. Or if fiction about young guys who drink themselves pie-eyed every night, and lust after each other’s girlfriends is not your favorite genre. Ballantine’s genial, reckless narrator is part Huck Finn, part Hunter S. Thompson. And in a few pages he’s charming you, more than any “pot-smoking, card-playing, music-loving, late night party hound” really should." —THE SEATTLE TIMES
"This second novel from Ballantine initially conjures images of Lord of the Flies, but then you would have to add about ten years to the protagonists’ ages and make them sex-crazed, gold-seeking alcoholics." —LIBRARY JOURNAL
"Poe Ballantine, in this sequel to God Clobbers Us All, reveals that he is a writer with a keen ear and a blistering wit … it’s a prime opportunity to observe a writer’s joyful wallow in the decadence of words." —THE AUSTIN CHRONICLE
"Edgar’s supersize pal Mountain is the best of the author’s creations: He possesses a merry and absurd sweetness … combined with a body mass that can block out the sun." —BOOKLIST
"Ballantine’s second novel is … memorable … funny and smart, and rarely boring." —PHILADELPHIA WEEKLY
"Decline of the Lawrence Welk Empire has the same amped tone and subtropical setting as Hunter S. Thompson’s The Rum Diary but less of the gonzo arrogance and more of that good ol’ American angst.
Fans will remember Edgar from Ballantine’s first novel, God Clobbers Us All, and will again be rewarded with the self-effacing character also visible in his inimitable essays in The Sun magazine. The prose is poised on the brink of perfection, and the plot twists into an unexpected yet perfect conclusion that makes scotch and roadkill seem almost palatable." —SAN FRANCISCO BAY GUARDIAN
In deadpan first-person, Edgar, a 20-year-old pizza deliveryman in San Diego, tells within a few pages about his short stint at Humboldt State, hitching to Colorado Springs and landing a low-level job at a swanky hotel. When he receives a postcard from tropical Poisson Rouge Island that says simply, "I found your paradise, Johnny," Edgar joins his erstwhile college pal there. Teeming mosquitoes, housing that's either hideously expensive or impoverished, and the local zombies (which may be real) make the place less than idyllic, and when Edgar takes up with Johnny's girlfriend, their affair puts Edgar at the quarry end of a darkly comic version of The Most Dangerous Game. Ballantine (God Clobbers Us All) stretches young male aimlessness and foolishness to the breaking point, spiking the thin plot with excellent car crash descriptions: "Something explodes under the hood and a hot fog spews the windshield. We skid on the turn, hop through a pothole, thump over something that feels like a dog or a corpse, and crash softly into the bush, the spiky shadows of the leaves spreading darkly over us." It's a downmarket version of Ben Kunkel's Indecision, with less surety but real vibrancy. (Aug.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
This second novel from Ballantine (after God Clobbers All) initially conjures images of Lord of the Flies, but then you would have to add about ten years to protagonists' ages and make them sex-crazed, gold-seeking alcoholics. Kicked out of college for excessive carousing, Edgar Donahoe flees his native San Diego and travels east. Eventually, he receives a postcard from college buddy Mountain Moses, who claims to have found paradise on a Caribbean island called Poisson Rouge. Fed up with America's greedy excesses and eager to escape the clutches of technology and materialism, Edgar joins his friend, but he soon discovers how quickly the simple life can turn wretched. Ballantine writes with the smugness of an ex-frat boy and seems to be having loads of fun, occasionally at the reader's expense. Most readers will overdose on Edgar's cute one-liners by the first half of the book, and when an apocalyptic hurricane rips through the island, it's difficult to care whether or not any of these characters survive. Ballantine does demonstrate flashes of skill, however, especially when describing lush island scenes. Recommended for large fiction collections.-Kevin Greczek, Ewing, NJ Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.