Ava's Man by Rick Bragg

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With the same emotional generosity and effortlessly compelling storytelling that made All Over But the Shoutin’ a national bestseller, Rick Bragg continues his personal history of the Deep South. This time he’s writing about his grandfather Charlie Bundrum, a man who died before Bragg was born but left an indelible imprint on the people who loved him. Drawing on their memories, Bragg reconstructs the life of an unlettered roofer who kept food on his family’s table through the worst of the Great Depression; a moonshiner who drank exactly one pint for every gallon he sold; an unregenerate brawler, who could sit for hours with a baby in the crook of his arm.

In telling Charlie’s story, Bragg conjures up the backwoods hamlets of Georgia and Alabama in the years when the roads were still dirt and real men never cussed in front of ladies. A masterly family chronicle and a human portrait so vivid you can smell the cornbread and whiskey, Ava’s Man is unforgettable.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

About Rick Bragg

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Rick Bragg is a national correspondent for the New York Times. He is based in Atlanta, Georgia.
Published January 20, 2010 by Vintage. 272 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Ava's Man

Kirkus Reviews

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A book that flashes with affection and respect for Charlie and the vanishing culture he represents, one we will be immensely the poorer for losing.

Sep 01 2001 | Read Full Review of Ava's Man

Kirkus Reviews

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Charlie was the son of another piece of work, a man who “largely disregarded any laws or influence outside his own will, and some people did not like to look him dead in the eye because it made them feel weak.” No stranger to a dust-up himself, Charlie would take the law down a notch if it was to...

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The New York Times

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Rick Bragg reconstructs the rural South during the Depression in a fond portrait of a grandfather he never knew

Sep 02 2001 | Read Full Review of Ava's Man

Publishers Weekly

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He lived by a code of country justice that tolerated brawling with lawmen but disdained bullying, distinguished "good, solid biblical cursing" from mere "ugly talk," and forswore spitting in the presence of ladies.Bragg strives for an unvarnished portrait—and succeeds, mostly—balancing tremendous...

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Entertainment Weekly

He supplemented his income by making moonshine, and as Bragg notes dryly, ''he never sold a sip -- not one sip -- that he did not test with his own liver.'' Although alcohol abuse hastened Bundrum's death in 1958, his grandson writes, ''when the spirit -- or the likker -- moved him, he was one of...

Sep 05 2001 | Read Full Review of Ava's Man


Four years ago Bragg's All Over but the Shoutin' gave tongue to the tale of his poor mama Margaret's struggle to raise him and two brothers in the '60s after she finally had her fill of their father, a mean drunk.

Oct 15 2001 | Read Full Review of Ava's Man


I read All Over but the Shoutin’ by Rick Bragg back a few years ago (my review here), and while I recognized so many of the characters as a part of the world I’ve grown up in, I didn’t love it.

Mar 14 2011 | Read Full Review of Ava's Man

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