In this collection of stories and essays, the beloved author of the classic, best-selling vel A Lesson Before Dying shares the inspirations behind his books and his reasons for becoming a writer. Told in the simple and powerful prose that is a hallmark of his craft, these writings by Ernest J. Gaines faithfully evoke the sorrows and joys of rustic Southern life. From his depiction of his childhood move to California a move that propelled him to find books that conjured the sights, smells, and locution of his native Louisiana home to his description of the real-life murder case that gave him the idea for his masterpiece, this wonderful collection is a revelation of both man and writer.
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.