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Cover of Decline of the Lawrence Welk Empire

Poe Ballantine

Decline of the Lawrence Welk Empire

  • fiction
  • ISBN 0-9766311-1-3

​“It’s impossible not to be charmed by Edgar Donahoe” (Publishers Weekly), and he’s back for another misguided adventure. When Edgar is expelled from college for drunkenly bellowing expletives from a dorm window at 3:00 a.m., he hitchhikes to Colorado and trains as a cook. A postcard arrives from Edgar’s college buddy, Mountain Moses, inviting him to a Caribbean island. Once there, Edgar cooks at the local tourist resort and falls in love with Mountain’s girl, Kate. He becomes embroiled in a love triangle and his troubles multiply as he is stalked by murderous island native Chollie Legion. Even Cinnamon Jim, the medicine man, is no help. Ultimately, it takes a hurricane to blow Edgar out of this mess.

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02 February 2017

Heartland Media of Chicago & the Live from the Heartland Radio Show: Readings from The Sun—featuring Sy Safransky, founder and editor of The Sun, along with contributors Poe Ballantine, Krista Bremer, and Cheryl Strayed.

Readings from The Sun—featuring Sy Safransky, founder and editor of The Sun, along with contributors Poe Ballantine, Krista Bremer, and Cheryl Strayed.

Poe Ballantine reads “The Irving” from his essay collection, 501 Minutes to Christ. This story...Forward

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Praise for Decline of the Lawrence Welk Empire

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