‘I explained to Tom that dealing with the bully was no different than dealing with the mountain lion. They were both predators looking for easy prey.’
Poe Ballantine visits his dying Grandfather Bing, receives free rent in return for evicting difficult tenants from the Totalitarian Hotel, models nude for budding artists, reconnects with his parents, befriends a lonely Austrian tourist on the Greyhound bus, cooks and gambles in Vegas, falls in love, returns to his wife’s homeland of Mexico to baptize his son, and discovers the true meaning of Guidelines for Mountain Lion Safety.
In this new collection of essays, Ballantine is at his soulful and penetrating best. At once hilarious and heart wrenching, the author recounts the trajectory of his own journey from reckless adolescence to the responsibilities of parenthood with disarming honesty, always fearlessly confronting those bullies and demons that threaten to blow us all off course.
‘Poe Ballantine’s writing is the latest testament of the American spirit that fired Muir, Algren and Kerouac, always reaching out for a golden America vanishing beyond the horizon, while hunted out of the backwaters and broken cities that lie along the way. The essays in this volume are songs of experience, of an America few foreigners visit, of death, longing, estrangement and strange joys, wrought with a language both rugged and beautiful. He is one of the finest living American writers, and this is my favourite of his works.’
Patrick Holland, author of Navigatio and The Mary Smokes Boys