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Paperback Decline of the Lawrence Welk Empire Book

ISBN: 0976631113

ISBN13: 9780976631118

Decline of the Lawrence Welk Empire

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Format: Paperback

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Book Overview

In this follow-up to God Clobbers Us All, Edgar Donahoe is back for another misguided adventure. When Edgar is expelled from college, he accepts his pal Mountain Moses' offer to come to a Caribbean island. Once there, Edgar cooks at the local tourist resort and falls in love with Mountain's girl, Kate. Embroiled in a dangerous love triangle and stalked by a mysterious local, he turns to medicine man Cinnamon Jim for help -- but even the supernatural...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Part Salinger, Part Palahniuk, All Awesomeness

I am not a big fan of most recent fiction. It is so often just whiny, self-aggrandizing crap that glorifies debauchery and pretends to carry a greater message. I picked this book off the shelf because the title and the cover are hard to dismiss. Reading the first page, even though the subject material seems conventional, it was immediately clear that I held a novel wholly different from any of the other two dozen recent novels I'd opened that day. This book is a real story with real character, real fear, real consequences, and a real philosophy. It begins like The Catcher in the Rye but ends like Fight Club. It takes place in 1976, which seems perfectly poised between those two works, and almost feels like a transition between Holden Caulfield's tired hopelessness, and Tyler Durden's wreckless self-serving activism. I adore this work, and if you have a soul, I suspect you will, too. This is literature.

Where Is Paradise?

When a college in San Diego asks Edgar Donahoe to leave due to his drunk bellowing from his dorm room window at 4 in the morning, he resolves a decision to embark upon a journey which he has romanticized for some time. Throughout his journey his goal is to rid himself of the corruption of America by his discovery of paradise. Until he received a postcard from his best friend Mountain, he never had a destination in mind. With the discovery of Poisson Rouge, Edgar now sets out to the island where he intends to become one with nature and return to a more natural version of man. However, Edgar makes the mistake of assuming that a change of ambience will help him live a meditated life. At the end of the novel the readers realize true peace of mind can not be achieved through paradise, but solely through one?s personal efforts. An external change will only change surroundings; it can not balance or improve one?s inner-self. As Edgar works through his internal and external problems he becomes captured in the same corruptive and influenced behavior he hoped to leave behind in America. Some of the adversity Edgar is faced with is a love triangle with his best friend Mountain, and Mountain?s girlfriend Kate. He is also stalked by an island native. Ironically, it takes a hurricane to remove protagonist Edgar from this complex lifestyle. Poe Ballantine creates the image of a youthful character by breaking us down with complex tragedies and then building us up with his unique sense of humor. It is the story of a hero who attempts to regain paradise. Ballantine?s fast paced style keeps you interested from the beginning to the end and then craving for more. His detailed descriptions and vivid scenes make you feel as if you were following Edgar on his journey to paradise. Once Edgar reaches the island, the culture shock seems so grave that you wonder whether it is a direct representation of the society or a delirious description due to an unhealthy mix of heat and alcohol. However, this quickly forces Edgar to realize that civilization is not as overrated as he perceived. Ballantine also maintains an intriguingly relaxed and almost conversational tone throughout the novel which provides a level of comfort between Edgar, the author, and the audience. With this said, Ballantine has proved himself to be a contemporary spokesperson of today?s society with a strong sense of wit. Despite the fact that the novel takes place in 1976, I believe it is still a good reflection of today?s younger generation. Edgar helps to open the minds of an older more structured generation to a more simple and fanciful mentality but also aids the youth in recognizing the demand for direction. Edgar?s whimsical idea of a simpler life, his endless craving for alcohol, and his yearning for unity with nature will leave you wishing to return to the days of youth or a motivation to improve upon them.

Conrad of the Caribbean

Once again, Poe Ballantine will crack you up, break your heart, and make you wish you had half his verbal skill. In his second novel, Ballantine follows his hero, Edgar Donahoe from God Clobbers Us All, on an ill-conceived attempt to simplify his life in a tropical paradise, only to discover that paradise exists solely in the mind. Traveling through his own personal heart of darkness, Edgar finds himself entangled by all the base desires and jealousies he'd hoped to escape by leaving the western world behind. Ballantine makes the island of Poisson Rouge come alive with explosions of language and vivid descriptions that border on hallucinatory. After reading a scene in which Edgar's love affair with his best friend's girlfriend is consummated in a graveyard, you'll never look at a headstone the same way again.

fast-paced, visually/emotionally descriptive...simply a joy to read

I'd never read anything by Ballantine before I purchased this novel. I was browsing a bookstore in Cambridge when I saw its cover proudly displayed in the window. Of course, I had to investigate. Needless to say, this book is fantastic. It is both a belated coming-of-age story and an adventure story, coupled with tinges of lust. I've loved every single page thus far, and unfortunately, I've nearly finished it (20 pages to go). "Decline" seems to be one of those novels you can read over and over, without getting tired of it. I love the pace and description in the narrative. Ballantine is certainly a welcome writer on my "favourite books" shelf. Do yourself a favour and read it.

This Book is a Masterpiece

Poe Ballantine is my favorite living American writer. His first book, "Things I Like about America," convinced me that I had finally found the voice of our time. Then came the novel "God Clobbers Us All," which took my breath away. If you're sick of pretentious or formulaic or just plain boring fiction, give this man a try. "Decline of the Lawrence Welk Empire" is his best book yet, and I recommend it to anyone who craves a good read. Delicious and nutritious!
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