In the decade of the Great Depression, Charlie moved his family 21 times, keeping seven children one step ahead of the poverty and starvation that threatened them from every side. He worked at the steel mill when the steel was rolling, or for a side of bacon or a bushel of peaches when it wasn't. He paid the doctor who delivered his fourth daughter, Margaret - the author's mother - with a jar of whiskey. He understood the finer points of the law as it applied to poor people and drinking men; he was a banjo player and a buck dancer who worked off fines when life got a little sideways, and he sang when he was drunk, where other men fought or cussed. He had a talent for living. His children revered him. When he died, cars lined the blacktop for more than a mile.
Rick Bragg has built a soaring monument to the grandfather he never knew - a father who stood by his family in hard times and left a backwoods legend behind - in an audiobook that blazes withi his love for his family, and for a particular stretch of dirt road along the Alabama-Georgia border. A powerfully intimate piece of American history as it was experienced by the working people of the deep South, a glorious record of a life of character, tenacity and indomitable joy, and an unforgettable tribute to a vanishing culture, Ava's Man is Rick Bragg at his stunning best.
©2001 by Rick Bragg; (P)2001 Random House Inc., Random House AudioBooks, a Division of Random House Inc.
"A soulful, poignant portrait." (Publishers Weekly)
"No one writes about the South like Bragg...[his] empathy and humanity shine throughout." (Library Journal)
I saw Rick Bragg on a Sunday morning interview show and immediately downloaded his book. This book is simultaneously amusing, humbling, deeply moving, and inspiring. Mr. Bragg's engaging narration contributes significantly to the overall experience. I am eagerly awaiting access to his other novels.
I found the beginning of the book a bit disjointed and hard to follow, but once it settled in, I found myself enthralled in the story. Its the story of a simple man who did the best he could, and the people who loved him. Rick Bragg has a wonderful gift of telling a story.
a historical look at one families history - along with the way the economics and history of the era and area affected them - It was also interesting to hear the musings of the author relating his relatives experiences in the past to his own current activities.
If you appreciate the southern voice, Rick Bragg is the guy for you. He has the knack of writing in a voice that many can speak but few can capture on paper. Great book. His previous book "All Over But The Shouting" is exceptional
Rick Bragg delves into his family history, mostly to find out about his maternal grandfather, Charlie Bundrum, who he never met and no one in the family would talk much about. Bragg interviewed family members and then interlaced their memories to make Ava's Man. You actually learn much more about the Bundrum side of Bragg's family than you did in All Over But the Shoutin', which is about the author's mother (although it is substantially about the author's career in journalism). Great familial and regional lore. Sentence-to-sentence, Bragg just gets better with each book. And it is so marvelous to have Bragg read. When books have a Southern setting, the readers are generally not Southerners and feel they must try on a "Southern accent," which always ends up sounding like Foghorn Leghorn. Very distasteful. Great writing and fantastic reading.
Love a good story and will read just about anything except Sci-Fi, Supernatural/Zombie/Vampire novels. Not snobby--don't enjoy them.
Great story and great read by a wonderful author/narrator. A tribute to his maternal grandfather who helped make him into the man he ultimately became. If you were a fan of The Glass Castle or Angela's Ashes's, you may want to give this a listen.
Rick Bragg is a great writer who captures the feeling of the southern life. His humble beginnings and deep love of family is an instant appeal. Grab a glass of sweet tea, sit down for a spell and enjoy reading anything Rick Bragg writes.
I have a biblical world view.
This makes me feel very humble. Better humble than proud. However the man made some bad decisions his life is a legacy that not many people can match. Put the drink down.
Oh. My. Word. I can hardly wrap my mind around how much I love this book. I listened to the audiobook, read by the author, in his wonderful Southern accent, which only served to immerse me even deeper into the story of Charlie, Ava's man (and the author's grandfather). The book was published in 2001, so it isn't new. But if you haven't read it, you should.
It is filled to the brim with wonderful turns of phrases that will make you not just fall in love with the people in the story but with their down-home language. One line from early in the book said that he died "soft and quiet, like a cat leaving a room." And another: "But when the spirit, or the liquor, moved him, he was one of the finest storytellers who ever lived in our part of the country ... A man who didn't need a gun to kill you because he was capable of talking you to death."
I wish my mom was still alive. She grew up in much the same time frame as Charlie and Ava, although not in the same area of the country. I wish I could ask her to tell me more about my grandfather, who died before I was born. Listening to Ava's Man made me want to plum my own family's stories about the Great Depression and the years that followed.
Read. This. Book. Even better, listen to it in the audio form.
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