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A Lesson before Dying: A Novel

by

A Lesson before Dying: A Novel Cover

ISBN13: 9781400077700
ISBN10: 1400077702
All Product Details

 

Awards

Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction, 1993.

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

Review:

"A Lesson Before Dying reconfirms Ernest J. Gaines's position as an important American writer." Boston Globe

Review:

"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

Review:

"Enormously moving....Gaines unerringly evokes the place and time about which he writes." Los Angeles Times

Synopsis:

Grant Wiggins, a college-educated man who returns to his hometown to teach, forms an unlikely bond with Jefferson, a young Black man convicted of murder and sentenced to death, when he is asked to impart his learning and pride to the condemned man

Synopsis:

"A Lesson Before Dying is set in a small Cajun community in the late 1940s. Jefferson, a young black man, is an unwitting party to a liquor store shootout in which three men are killed; the only survivor, his 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." --Cover.

About the Author

Ernest J. Gaines was born in 1933 on the River Lake plantation in Pointe Coupée Parish, Louisiana, the setting for most of his fiction; he was the fifth generation in his family to be born there. At the age of nine he was picking cotton in the plantation fields; the black quarter's school held classes only five or six months a year.

When he was fifteen, Gaines moved to California to join his parents, who had left Louisiana during World War II. There he attended San Francisco State University and later won a writing fellowship to Stanford University.

Gaines published his first short story in 1956. Since then he has written eight books of fiction, including Catherine Carmier, Of Love and Dust, Bloodline, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, A Long Day in November, In My Father's House, and A Gathering of Old Men. A Lesson Before Dying, his most recent novel, won the 1993 National Book Critics Circle Award. He has also been awarded a MacArthur Foundation grant, for writings of "rare historical resonance."

Gaines divides his time between San Francisco and Lafayette, Louisiana, where he is writer in residence at the University of Southwestern Louisiana. He is married to the lawyer Dianne Saulney.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

lidush_maha, February 16, 2011 (view all comments by lidush_maha)
a lesson before dying explains the one worth thing that is being learnt at the last stage of life
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781400077700
Publisher:
Vintage Books
Subject:
Race relations
Author:
Ernest J. Gaines
Author:
Gaines, Ernest J.
Subject:
Friendship
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
General
Subject:
Death, Grief, Bereavement
Subject:
Fiction-General
Subject:
Family & Relationships-Death, Grief, Bereavement
Subject:
Fiction : General
Subject:
Family & Relationships : Death, Grief, Bereavement
Subject:
Fiction
Subject:
Louisiana
Subject:
Historical
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Friendship
Subject:
Afro-american men
Subject:
African American men
Subject:
Death row inmates
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
Literature (General)
Subject:
main_subject
Subject:
all_subjects
Publication Date:
1993
Binding:
ELECTRONIC
Language:
English
Pages:
256

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » African American » General

A Lesson before Dying: A Novel
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 256 pages Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group - English 9781400077700 Reviews:
"Review" by , "A Lesson Before Dying reconfirms Ernest J. Gaines's position as an important American writer."
"Review" by , "This majestic, moving novel is an instant classic, a book that will be read, discussed and taught beyond the rest of our lives."
"Review" by , "Enormously moving....Gaines unerringly evokes the place and time about which he writes."
"Synopsis" by , Grant Wiggins, a college-educated man who returns to his hometown to teach, forms an unlikely bond with Jefferson, a young Black man convicted of murder and sentenced to death, when he is asked to impart his learning and pride to the condemned man
"Synopsis" by , "A Lesson Before Dying is set in a small Cajun community in the late 1940s. Jefferson, a young black man, is an unwitting party to a liquor store shootout in which three men are killed; the only survivor, his 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." --Cover.
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