Conversations, News, VOLUME 12

Ernest Gaines – Remembering a Great American Writer – Obituary

Ernest Gaines Obituary

Ernest Gaines, one of America’s most underappreciated novelists, died yesterday at the age of 86. We remember his life and honor his work with this obituary …

Three Ernest Gaines novels
to start with:

3.  A Gathering of Old Men

“Early in this eloquent novel . . . a sheriff is summoned to a sugarcane plantation, where he finds one young white woman, about eighteen old black men, and one dead Cajun farmer.  The sheriff is sure he knows who killed the Cajun—although each of the men is toting a shotgun only one of them could hit a barn door—but threats and slaps fail to change their stories.  Each one claims guilt, and all but one promise to provoke a riot at the courthouse if the sheriff tries to make an arrest.  In the meantime, they wait for a lynch mob that the dead man’s father—like the son, a notorious brute—is sure to launch. . . . Before it is over, everyone involved has been surprised by something; the old black men not least of all, by their first taste of power and pride.” The New Yorker




 
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C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at: C-Christopher-Smith.com


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