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A Gathering of Old Men by Ernest J. Gaines

A Gathering of Old Men (edition 1992)

by Ernest J. Gaines

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Title:A Gathering of Old Men
Authors:Ernest J. Gaines
Collections:Southern Fiction

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A Gathering of Old Men by Ernest J. Gaines



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I read this with great enjoyment, thinking at the back of my mind however: Wish fulfillment. Fairy tale. Not the black-empowerment part, but the number of white people portrayed as actually having learned some lessons from history. On the other hand -- Gaines grew up right there, in circumstances as deprived as any of the characters of this novel. And he has chosen go right back there to end his days. So who am I to tell him he's wrong in being hopeful?

Moreover it is easier to believe this of the rural South, where blacks and whites, as individuals, grow up on terms of lifelong intimacy, than of racially-sorted urban America.

(Also Gaines portrays big-time college sports, a blight on society in the minds of the right-thinking and progressive, as a force for good. Food for thought.)
  sonofcarc | Jan 6, 2014 |
A killing on a former plantation brings out courage in a gathering of old, former sharecroppers. Interesting style as the author flits from one person to another telling bits of the story. ( )
  addunn3 | May 2, 2013 |
Destined to be one of my top reads for 2012, this is a powerful tale of the deep south and the terrible bigotry that existed in the 1970's.

When a son of the local, powerful white racist is killed, it takes a strong white woman to gather the old black men to rally.

When each man arrives on the porch, gun in hand, they await the sheriff and the local near do wells who will seek revenge.

When the sheriff demands to know who is to blame, each and every older gentleman claims he was the culprit.

Each chapter, excellently, compellingly written from the perspective of each man, tells a tale of subjugation at the hands of the white racists and the need to finally take a stand against intolerance and evil.

There is power in this book-- mighty, mighty power.

Highly recommended!! ( )
1 vote Whisper1 | Feb 9, 2012 |
A white man is murdered by a black man, and to protect the murderer, the woman who owns the former plantation where the murder took place determines to muddy the waters. She invites the old men who live on her land and nearby to come with the identical gun and shells. They come, but in addition, they choose that they will no longer be intimidated or abused by the white men. They decide they are willing to be beaten, go to jail, or perhaps even die before they will be less than men. Each chapter tells the next part of the story from a different person's point of view. Instead of being confusing, the narrative is deepened and intensified by the changing points of view. Knowing who you are, no matter what other people think you are or treat you as can change your life, can change the world. ( )
  nittnut | Jan 23, 2012 |
News travels fast in rural Louisiana when a white man is killed. It doesn't take long before Mat, Chimley, Clatoo, Cherry and other black men are gathering up their old 12-gauge shotguns and dusty number-five shells to congregate at Mathu's house. Armed mostly with their courage and memories of years of injustice, this group of old men stand up for one of their own against years of hatred and abuse.

I was most taken aback by the time frame of this novel. The events happened in the 1970s when I was living a few states north of Louisiana focused on raising a family instead of raising my awareness of the fact that there were (and maybe still are) pockets of hate and oppression in our "land of equality." This is a powerful book of nobility and mustering the nerve to right the wrongs of the past. ( )
3 vote Donna828 | Jan 6, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0679738908, Paperback)

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.

"Poignant, powerful, earthy...a novel of Southern racial confrontation in which a group of elderly black men band together against whites who seek vengeance for the murder of one of their own."--Booklist

"A fine novel...there is a denouement that will shock and move readers as much as it does the characters."--Philadelphia Inquirer

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:31:59 -0400)

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Set on a Louisiana sugar cane plantation in the 1970s, the book is a powerful depiction of racial tensions arising over the death of a Cajun farmer at the hands of a black man.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

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