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Summary

A dark and socially provocative Southern-fried comedy about four UC Berkeley students who stage a dramatic protest during a Civil War reenactment - a fierce, funny, tragic work from a bold new writer.

Born and raised in the heart of old Dixie, D'aron Davenport is a small-town fish floundering in the depths of a large, hyperliberal pond of UC Berkeley. Everything changes in his American history class, when D'aron lets slip that his hometown hosts an annual Civil War re-nactment. His announcement is met with righteous indignation and inspires a "performative intervention". Armed with youthful self-importance, makeshift slave costumes, righteous zeal, and their own misguided ideas about the South, D'aron and his three idiosyncratic best friends descend on Braggsville.

Their journey through backwoods churches, backroom politics, Waffle Houses, and drunken family barbecues is uproarious to start but will have devastating consequences.

A literary coming-of-age novel for a new generation, written with keen wit, tremendous social insight, and a unique, generous heart, Welcome to Braggsville reminds us of the promise and perils of youthful exuberance while painting an indelible portrait of contemporary America.

©2015 T Geronimo Johnson (P)2015 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic reviews

"A radical book in every sense of the word - thoroughgoing and extreme, ghastly and funny and gloriously provocative, a gauntlet thrown.... Its laugh-out-loud humour always underscores the pain of exile.... Johnson's prose is by turns scathing dark humour, soaring lyricism, and a quietly devastating analysis of every species of injustice. The result is a kind of mind-melting poetry - a linguistic electroconvulsive therapy for the reader. This book will wake you up! Welcome to Braggsville toggles brilliantly between tragedy and comedy and never lets the reader off the hook." (Karen Russell, author of "Swamplandia!")

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Small Town Re-enactments

D'arren comes from a small Dixie town, he can't wait to get out of there and heads for Berkley. Everyone there shares his intelligence, he couldn't be happier - then one of his history classes gets him in major trouble. What would happen if he and his friends interrupted his small town's Civil War re-enactment with a fake master/slave beating?