Whirlaway by Poe Ballantine is awesome! Eddie Plum, locked up in a psychiatric hospital for 14 years, escapes! What happened to his madhouse lover, Sophia? How did he meet
Sweets, a telepathic dog? What's up with his old buddy Shelly? Drinking, women, horseraces, and vintage record hunting all entwine in this jam-packed novel! Gorgeous prose throughout. Recommended By Adrienne C., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
Eddie Plum, who insists he’s been unjustifiably committed to a California psychiatric hospital, manages to finally escape after 14 years of incarceration to start his life anew. On the run, he holes up in a sheltered barrio on a bluff above the Pacific Ocean owned by his wealthy but unsympathetic father. Here he meets Sweets, the telepathic dog, laments the loss of Sofia, his madhouse lover, and plays the horses at the Del Mar Racetrack. Eventually he meets up with an old friend, Shelly Hubbard, a fellow horseplayer, record collector/dealer, and hardcore loner, who tells him about his brother, Donny, dead at the age of 18 from a tragic dive off a 30-foot La Jolla sea cliff known as the Clam. Eddie discovers a family secret and wants to help, but by then he’s already embroiled in the psychotic incident with the Tijuana prostitutes, the madhouse lover, and the police, who are hot on his tail. Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride has nothing on Whirlaway, a hilarious novel of escaped mental patients, horseplayers, and record collectors.
"Poe Ballantine’s prose cuts right to the bone (the one that’s stuck in America’s throat), but manages to preserve not only the sweetest meat but the barbecue sauce, as well. Mark Twain would have admired his wit, and had Oscar Wilde read him, he would have bought an old Ford pickup and moved to Nebraska the day he got out of the slammer, hoping that some of his style rubbed off on him. A book without style is like a swan without feathers — it’s just another plucked chicken — but this new one of Ballantine’s is in its funky way majestic as it zigzags downstream. Poe Ballantine is the most soulful, insightful, funny, and altogether luminous “under-known” writer in America. He knocks my socks off, even when I’m barefoot." Tom Robbins, Author of Tibetan Peach Pie
"Whirlaway is a fever dream of my favorite things: horse racing, records, booze, insanity, and women.
What a strange and crazed comedic ride. Ballantine’s writing is like no other." Willy Vlautin, Author of The Free
"Poe Ballantine is deceptive. You’re floating along on the darkly comedic surface of this novel, enjoying the strange ride, but then the undercurrents will grab you. Under the humor is pain and beauty and hope. Moving and original." Gin Phillips, Author of Fierce Kingdom
About the Author
Poe Ballantine currently lives in Chadron, Nebraska. His work has appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, The Sun, Kenyon Review, and The Coal City Review. In addition to garnering numerous Pushcart and O. Henry nominations, Mr. Ballantine’s work has been included in the anthologies The Best American Short Stories 1998 and The Best American Essays 2006.
Poe Ballantine on PowellsBooks.Blog
At the Gallup, New Mexico, bus station, just for the heck of it, I asked the clerk behind the counter where the bus did not go. He was amused and I think somewhat intrigued when he realized I was seriously going into a ticket office and asking about places they did not go. He had a slow way of speaking and studied me as if he cared...