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501 Minutes to Christ [Paperback]

Poe Ballantine
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
RRP: £9.99
Price: £6.15 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Book Description

5 Jan 2010
Poe Ballantine's second volume of true American stories follows in the tradition of his first travel-come-memoir, Things I Like About America. As he wanders from town to town, from motel to boarding house, bus station to bar, old job to new - and as he counts, for the hundredth time, the handful of dollars in his pocket and wonders where he can get a cheap meal - Ballantine manages to capture in words an America so downtrodden, funny and surprising that it's hard to forget.

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501 Minutes to Christ + The Decline of the Lawrence Welk Empire
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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Old Street Publishing (5 Jan 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906964203
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906964207
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,017,430 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'Ballantine has honed his prose so that it is as fresh as a downpour in Decora... He humanises the mythic underbelly of the American nowhere while also revealing some truly repellent characters...His self-deprecating humour is the making of his writing and possibly the keeper of his sanity.'
The Times

'Warm-hearted, witty and tender. Pinballing around the country, Ballantine describes a patchwork quilt of small town Americana, along the way meeting a rich cast of drunks, headcases and deadbeats'

'Calmer than Bukowski, less portentous than Kerouac, more hopeful than West'
San Diego Tribune

'Poe Ballantine reminds us that in a country full of identical strip malls and chain restaurants there's still room for adventure. He finds humour in situations that most would find unbearable and flourishes like a modern-day Kerouac... A book to cherish and pass on to friends'
Mark Poirier

'Characters that leap from the page like a pop-up book... Ballantine has a style all of his own. That his books have now made the trip over the pond is the perfect excuse to buy some cherry wine, and find that perfect reading bench in your nearest park.'
Evening Herald

'The most ejoyable book we've read all month: warm, hobo-wise and oddly comforting'
Dazed & Confused

'501 Minutes is a vibrant memoir of the writer's penniless existence bouncing from homelessness in New Orleans to dog-sitting in Colorado.Ballantine's tales of keeping saneare reminiscent of Kerouac and Hunter S Thompson'
Monocle -----

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Subtle but excellent 20 Jan 2010
Contrary to 'Bedinog's' review (below), I found 501 Minutes greatly moving. The crux of Ballantines's greatness, I think, lies in precisely the same area that 'Bedinog' finds so unappealing - its subtlety .

He is, however, right in one regard: 501 Minutes does yield 'atmospheric landscapes, and sharply drawn characters' but also a cast that is fallible, funny and very, very human. All delivered with the lightest of touches. Brilliant.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic! 16 Jan 2012
A wonderful collection of stories describing small town America and life spent within the margins of the wealthiest country on Earth. Ballantine has a great style that grabs your attention from the opening page and this is a must read for anyone interested in finding a 21st century replacement for Jack Kerouac. A truly great read.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The beat goes on... 20 Jan 2010
Poe Ballantine's collection of personal essays; 501 MINUTES OF CHRIST is a striking piece of American literature that is both incredibly cynical, as well as heartbreakingly honest. A homage to the original beatniks.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Shades of Grey 4 Jan 2010
By Bedinog
I write as an ordinary paying customer, not as a literary expert.
Ballantine's 3 decade long experience of drifting around the underbelly of the Great American Dream yields atmospheric landscapes, and sharply drawn characters which evoke not the technicoloured fizz of Hollywood but the grim monochrome of life just off skid row.
Other reviewers find his work runs the gamut of emotions, but for me this collection of short stories drift like tumbleweed from one shade of grey to another,largely because I can find so few characters to invite my sympathy, other than the helpless baby, offspring of a disturbed mother, and Shorty his dog. There's little to amuse in the recollection of many drink and dope sessions, for the characters he describes seem to exist only for themselves and without apparent concern for anything or anyone. Some find the author quite a raconteur, yet for the most part he comes across as shallow. Without doubt, his close encounters with possible suicide are disturbing, yet these do not appear to be as a result of wrongs done him by others, more a consequence of his own unfocussed life, the reasons for which appear to be his own choice. It is very difficult to actually care about what he's done or where he's going, it becomes so dreary.
An interesting read in short doses, but not for the depressive, and I'm not sure I'll be accompanying him on further journeys; I've attended more humorous funerals.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 501 Minutes to Christ 13 July 2013
By Stephanie Kendall - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Over a period of several years, I had read numerous essays by Poe Ballantine published in The Sun Magazine. I was already a fan of this gifted writer before ordering “501 minutes....” This guy has roamed America, from sea to shining sea; gliding, sliding, cooking, sleeping, laughing and loving his way from coast to coast, running aground, mixing with a few of the right and a handful of wrong people. He has rumbled down lonely highways wedged between other souls on the move on many a Greyhound bus. He keeps moving ahead, to what, I am not sure. Maybe selfishly, I hope he does not find what he is looking for anytime soon. Because if he does, he might stop writing about it. Sometimes funny, sometimes anything but, it remains gripping throughout. I recommend this book.
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