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About Ernest J. Gaines
His 1993 novel, A Lesson Before Dying, won the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction. Gaines has been a MacArthur Foundation fellow, awarded the National Humanities Medal, and inducted into the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Order of Arts and Letters) as a Chevalier.
Bio from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Photo by Slowking4 (Own work) [GFDL 1.2 (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html)], via Wikimedia Commons.
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“This majestic, moving novel is an instant classic, a book that will be read, discussed and taught beyond the rest of our lives.”—Chicago Tribune
Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, A Lesson Before Dying is a deep and compassionate novel about a young man who returns to 1940s Cajun country to visit a black youth on death row for a crime he didn't commit. Together they come to understand the heroism of resisting.
From the critically acclaimed author of A Gathering of Old Men and The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman.
"Stunning. I know of no black novel about the South that excludes quite the same refreshing mix of wit and wrath, imagination and indignation, misery and poetry. And I can recall no more memorable female character in Southern fiction since Lena of Faulkner's Light In August than Miss Jane Pittman." -- Josh Greenfeld, Life
The Village Voice called A Gathering of Old Men “the best-written novel on Southern race relations in over a decade.”
After Brady Sims pulls out a gun in a courtroom and shoots his own son, who has just been convicted of robbery and murder, he asks only to be allowed two hours before he'll give himself up to the sheriff. When the editor of the local newspaper asks his cub reporter to dig up a "human interest" story about Brady, he heads for the town's barbershop. It is the barbers and the regulars who hang out there who narrate with empathy, sadness, humor, and a profound understanding the life story of Brady Sims—an honorable, just, and unsparing man who with his tough love had been handed the task of keeping the black children of Bayonne, Louisiana in line to protect them from the unjust world in which they lived. And when his own son makes a fateful mistake, it is up to Brady to carry out the necessary reckoning. In the telling, we learn the story of a small southern town, divided by race, and the black community struggling to survive even as many of its inhabitants head off northwards during the Great Migration.
Gaines introduces us to this world through the eyes of guileless children and wizened jailbirds, black tenants and white planters. He shows his characters eking out a living and making love, breaking apart aand coming together. And on every page he captures the soul of black community whose circumstances make even the slightest assertion of self-respect an act of majestic—and sometimes suicidal—heroism. Bloodline is a miracle of storytelling.
A Long Day in November
The Sky Is Gray
Just Like a Tree
The beloved author of the classic, best-selling novel A Lesson Before Dying shares the inspirations behind his books and his reasons for becoming a writer in this collection of stories and essays.
Told in the simple and powerful prose that is a hallmark of his craft, these writings by Ernest J. Gaines faithfully evoke the sorrows and joys of rustic Southern life.
From his depiction of his childhood move to California — a move that propelled him to find books that conjured the sights, smells, and locution of his native Louisiana home — to his description of the real-life murder case that gave him the idea for his masterpiece; this wonderful collection is a revelation of both man and writer.
After living in San Francisco for ten years, Jackson returns home to his benefactor, Aunt Charlotte. Surrounded by family and old friends, he discovers that his bonds to them have been irreparably rent by his absence. In the midst of his alienation from those around him, he falls in love with Catherine Carmier, setting the stage for conflicts and confrontations which are complex, tortuous, and universal in their implications.
In St. Adrienne, a small black community in Louisiana, Reverend Phillip Martin—a respected minister and civil rights leader—comes face to face with the sins of his youth in the person of Robert X, a young, unkempt stranger who arrives in town for a mysterious "meeting" with the Reverend.
In the confrontation between the two, the young man's secret burden explodes into the open, and Phillip Martin begins a long-neglected journey into his youth to discover how destructive his former life was, for himself and for those around him.
“…on every page there's an authentic moment, or a dead-right knot of conversation, or a truer-than-true turn of phrase…”—Kirkus Reviews