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Ava's Man Paperback – August 13, 2002
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The same fierce pride and love that animated All Over but the Shoutin' glow in Rick Bragg's new book. In fact, he informs us in the prologue that it was the readers of his bestselling 1997 memoir about his mother's struggle to raise three sons out of dire poverty who told him what he had to write about next. "People asked me where I believed my own momma's heart and backbone came from ... they said I short-shrifted them in the first book." Bragg sets out to make amends in this heartfelt biography of his maternal grandfather, Charlie Bundrum, who with wife Ava nurtured seven children through hard times that never seemed to ease in rural Alabama and Georgia. "He was a tall, bone-thin man who worked with nails in his teeth and a roofing hatchet in a fist as hard as Augusta brick," writes Bragg, "who inspired backwoods legend and the kind of loyalty that still makes old men dip their heads respectfully when they say his name." Charlie's children adored him so much that 40 years after his premature death in 1958 at age 51, Bragg's elderly aunts and mother began to cry when asked about him. Chronicling Charlie's hardscrabble life in the flinty, expressive cadences of working-class Southern speech, Bragg depicts a rugged individual who would find no place in the homogenized New South. The marvelous stories collected from various relatives--Charlie facing down a truckload of mean drunks with a hammer, hatchet, and 12-gauge shotgun, or brewing illegal white whiskey in the woods ("He never sold a sip that he did not test with his own liver")--are not just snapshots of a colorful character. They're also the author's tribute to an oral culture with tenacious roots and powerful significance in the American South. --Wendy Smith --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
In less capable hands, this biography could have been mawkish and mundane. Instead, Bragg's telling of his maternal grandfather's life is eloquent and touching, and his spare prose is alive with fresh metaphors and memorable sentences. Bragg never knew Charlie Bundrum, who died prematurely at age 51 in 1958; the story of this proud, flawed, loving and much-loved hero of Depression-era Appalachia is derived from family and community oral history. Interestingly, this book emerged because readers of Bragg's bestselling book about his mother, Ava (All Over but the Shoutin'), wanted to understand the force that drove her to be such a strong figure. Few actors could have read this work as well as the author has. Bragg's Appalachian accent, slightly polished by Northern living, adds authenticity to the fine, funny and painful anecdotes that made up his grandfather's life and to the feelings each story encompasses. His smooth reading enhances the rhythms and sounds of his prose, rendering with genuine sincerity his deep admiration for his people and for the vanishing culture they represent. Simultaneous release with the Knopf hardcover (Forecasts, Aug. 6). (Aug.)n
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
Gadsden Alabama during the same time frame Ava's Man takes place. We all now understand so many things about
their parents....how they were raised, their environment, the rough times they had. I have read everything Rick Bragg has
written, each book is better than the last!