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A Gathering of Old Men Set on a Louisiana sugarcane plantation in the 1970s, A Gathering of Old Men is a powerful depiction of racial tensions arising over the death of a Cajun farmer at the hands of a black man.
I may not be the best judge here but...
I was assigned this book for class work (I bought it on my own accord but that is beside the point) so I really didn't know what to expect. After reading it, I can't really say that I have walked away with much of anything more than I started with. The book feels like it could have been 1/5 the length, seeing as how the entire story consists of only 3 different events: the gathering of people, the fight, and the trial. Of those three, the gathering and discussion take up 95% of the book. I also couldn't keep half of the characters straight, many of them not even being worth remembering since they star in a grand total of 3 pages or less. There was way too much piled on and it just left me confused. There are a lot of questions I have about this book and many of them are simply about the writing style, not the content.
All that said, the story was interesting enough, but I don't think I would ever recommend this to anyone unless they were researching Black/White history.
Ernest J. Gaines From the author of A Gathering of Old Men and The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman comes a deep and compassionate novel, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award. A young man who returns to 1940s Cajun country to teach visits a black youth on death row for a crime he didn't commit. Together they come to understand the heroism of resisting.
Ernest J. Gaines "This is a novel in the guise of the tape-recorded recollections of a black woman who has lived 110 years, who has been both a slave and a witness to the black militancy of the 1960's. In this woman Ernest Gaines has created a legendary figure, a woman equipped to stand beside William Faulkner's Dilsey in The Sound And The Fury." Miss Jane Pittman, like Dilsey, has 'endured,' has seen almost everything and foretold the rest. Gaines' novel brings to mind other great works The Odyssey for the way his heroine's travels manage to summarize the American history of her race, and Huckleberry Finn for the clarity of her voice, for her rare capacity to sort through the mess of years and things to find the one true story in it all." -- Geoffrey Wolff, Newsweek.
"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
Ernest J. Gaines Set on a Louisiana sugarcane plantation in the 1970s, A Gathering of Old Men is a powerful depiction of racial tensions arising over the death of a Cajun farmer at the hands of a black man.
Ernest J. Gaines This is the story of Marcus: bonded out of jail where he has been awaiting trial for murder, he is sent to the Hebert plantation to work in the fields. There he encounters conflict with the overseer, Sidney Bonbon, and a tale of revenge, lust and power plays out between Marcus, Bonbon, BonBon's mistress Pauline, and BonBon's wife Louise.
Ernest J. Gaines An affectionate and funny story set in the black quarter" of a Southern sugar cane plantation in the 1940s and told by a child named Eddie, who watches his mother leave his father over his preoccupation with his car, which his father ultimately burns to the ground on the advice of a voodoo woman to get his wife back.
Ernest J. Gaines Ernest J. Gaines's new novella revolves around a courthouse shooting that leads a young reporter to uncover the long story of race and power in his small town and the relationship between the white sheriff and the black man who "whipped children" to keep order. 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.
Ernest J. Gaines A compelling novel of a man brought to reckon with his buried past. 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.
Ernest J. Gaines In these five stories, Ernest Gaines returns to the cane fields, sharecroppers' shacks, and decaying plantation houses of Louisiana, the terrain of his great novels A Gathering of Old Men and A Lesson Before Dying. As rendered by Gaines, this country becomes as familiar, and as haunted by cruelty, suffering, and courage, as Ralph Ellison's Harlem or Faulkner's Yoknapatawpha County.
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 Three Men Bloodline Just Like a Tree
Ernest J. Gaines By the author of A Lesson Before Dying and The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, Catherine Carmier is a compelling love story set in a deceptively bucolic Louisiana countryside, where blacks, Cajuns, and whites maintain an uneasy coexistence.
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.
Ernest J. Gaines In this collection of stories and essays, 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. 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.
Ernest J. Gaines A Vintage Shorts “Short Story Month” Selection
The fish are nearly jumping in the bayous of Louisiana, but hoodoo magic is just as easy to find. And one day, Bobby’s grandfather catches a haint.
With his characteristically rich sense of place and deep understanding of the human psyche, Ernest Gaines, National Book Critics Circle Award winner and author of the classic novel A Lesson Before Dying, presents a raconteur’s tale of rustic Southern living, A selection from Gaines’s collection of prose, Mozart and Leadbelly.