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A Lesson Before Dyingby Ernest Gaines
Synopses & Reviews
From the author of A Gathering of Old Men and The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman comes a deep and compassionate novel.
A Lesson Before Dying is set in a small Cajun community in the late 1940s. Jefferson, a young black man, is unwitting party to a liquor store shootout in which three men are killed; the only survivor, he is convicted of murder and sentenced to death. Grant Wiggins, who left his hometown for the university, has returned to the plantation school to teach. As he struggles with his decision whether to stay or escape to another state, his aunt and Jefferson's godmother persuade him to visit Jefferson in his cell and impart his learning and his pride to Jefferson before his death. In the end, the two men forge a bond as they both come to understand the simple heroism of resisting — and defying — the expected.
Ernest J. Gaines brings to this novel the same rich sense of place, the same deep understanding of the human psyche, and the same compassion for a people and their struggle that have informed his previous, highly praised works of fiction.
A Lesson Before Dying is about the ways in which people insist on declaring the value of their lives in a time and place in which those lives count for nothing. It is about the ways in which the imprisoned may find freedom even in the moment of their death. As such, Gaines's novel transcends its minutely evoked circumstances to address the basic predicament of what it is to be a human being, a creature striving for dignity in a universe that often denies it.
"Enormously moving....Gaines unerringly evokes the place and time about which he writes." Los Angeles Times
"This majestic, moving novel is an instant classic, a book that will be read, discussed and taught beyond the rest of our lives." The Chicago Tribune
"A Lesson Before Dying reconfirms Ernest J. Gaines's position as an important American writer." Boston Globe
A LESSON BEFORE DYING is the heartbreaking and inspiring new audio about the friendship of two black men — one wrongly condemned to die and one who's persuaded to impart something of himself — his learning and pride.
A LESSON BEFORE DYING is set in a small Cajun community in the late 1940's. Jefferson is an unwitting and innocent party to a liquor story shoot-out in which three men are killed; the only survivor, he is convicted of murder and sentenced to death. Grant Wiggins, who left his hometown for the university has reluctantly returned to the plantation school to teach. As he struggles with his decision whether to stay or escape to another state, his aunt and Jefferson's godmother persuade him to visit Jefferson in his cell. In the end, the two men forge a bond as they both come to understand the simple heroism of resisting — and defying — the expected.
In a small Cajun community in the late 1940s, a young black man named Jefferson is an unwilling party to a liquor store shootout in which three men are killed. The only survivor, he is convicted of murder and sentenced to death.
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The story of a young black man wrongly convicted of the murder of three white men in the American South of the 1940s. Was chosen for the Oprah Winfrey Book Club, and was a winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction.
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