I consider this one of the most important books of the last 20 years. It takes the core of what we define as humanity and love against a justice system that may not have room for either sentiment. Jefferson is unforgettable and remains with me as a standard for compassion and understanding. You must read this.
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.
About the Author
Ernest Gaines was born on a plantation in Pointe Coupee Parish near New Roads, Louisiana, which is the Bayonne of all his fictional works. He is writer-in-residence emeritus at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. In 1993 Gaines received the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship for his lifetime achievements. In 1996 he was named a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, one of France’s highest decorations. He and his wife, Dianne, live in Oscar, Louisiana.
Ernest Gaines’s A Lesson Before Dying, A Gathering of Old Men, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, Bloodline, and Of Love and Dust are available in Vintage paperback.
From the Hardcover edition.
"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
"A Lesson Before Dying reconfirms Ernest J. Gaines's position as an important American writer." — Boston Globe
"Enormously moving. . . . Gaines unerringly evokes the place and time about which he writes." —Los Angeles Times
“A quietly moving novel [that] takes us back to a place we've been before to impart a lesson for living.” —San Francisco Chronicle