Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award
A YALSA "Best Books for Young Adults"
A Lesson Before Dying, set in a small Cajun community in the late 1940s, is about the bond forged between two men—Jefferson, convicted of murder and sentenced to die; and Grant Wiggins, a college graduate returning to his hometown to teach. Through their friendship and the wisdom they impart upon one another, they both come to understand the simple heroism of resisting—and defying—the expected. Gaines brings to this novel a rich sense of place and a deep understanding of the human psyche.
"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
A teacher's guide for this title is available. Please click on "Teacher's Guides" link below.
WINNER - YALSA Best Books for Young Adults
WINNER - National Book Critics Circle Awards
Ernest J. Gaines was born on a plantation in Pointe Coupee Parish, near New Roads, Louisiana, which is the Bayonne of all his fictional works. His previous books include A Gathering of Old Men, In My Father's House, A Long Day in November, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, Bloodline, Of Love and Dust, and Catherine Carmier. He divides his time between San Francisco and the University of Southwestern Louisiana in Lafayette, where he is writer-in-residence.