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A Lesson Before Dying

Gaines, Ernest

48,235 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0679414770 / ISBN 13: 9780679414773
Published by Westminister, Maryland, U.S.A.: Alfred a Knopf Inc, 1993
Condition: Near Fine Hardcover
From Bingo Books 2 (Vancouver, WA, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

hardback book in near fine condition,unclipped dust jacket is very good to near fine,stated-[published april 2,1993 second printing before publication]name stamped on first blank page [robert publishing reseda,ca]. Bookseller Inventory # 32839

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Bibliographic Details

Title: A Lesson Before Dying

Publisher: Westminister, Maryland, U.S.A.: Alfred a Knopf Inc

Publication Date: 1993

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition: Near Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title

Synopsis:

From the author of A Gathering of Old Men and The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman comes a deep and compassionate novel. 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.

Review:

In a small Cajun community in 1940s Louisiana, a young black man is about to go to the electric chair for murder. A white shopkeeper had died during a robbery gone wrong; though the young man on trial had not been armed and had not pulled the trigger, in that time and place, there could be no doubt of the verdict or the penalty.

"I was not there, yet I was there. No, I did not go to the trial, I did not hear the verdict, because I knew all the time what it would be." So begins Grant Wiggins, the narrator of Ernest J. Gaines's powerful exploration of race, injustice and resistance, A Lesson Before Dying. If young Jefferson, the accused, is confined by the law to an iron-barred cell, Grant Wiggins is no less a prisoner of social convention. University educated, Grant has returned to the tiny plantation town of his youth, where the only job available to him is teaching in the small plantation church school. More than 75 years after the close of the Civil War, antebellum attitudes still prevail: African Americans go to the kitchen door when visiting whites and the two races are rigidly separated by custom and law. Grant, trapped in a career he doesn't enjoy, eaten up by resentment at his station in life, and angered by the injustice he sees all around him, dreams of taking his girlfriend Vivian and leaving Louisiana forever. But when Jefferson is convicted and sentenced to die, his grandmother, Miss Emma, begs Grant for one last favour: to teach her grandson to die like a man.

As Grant struggles to impart a sense of pride to Jefferson before he must face his death, he learns an important lesson as well: heroism is not always expressed through action--sometimes the simple act of resisting the inevitable is enough. Populated by strong, unforgettable characters, Ernest J. Gaines's A Lesson Before Dying offers a lesson for a lifetime.

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