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A Gathering of Old Men Paperback – June 30, 1992
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Top Customer Reviews
Beau Boutan is dead, lying out in the weeds beside his shotgun, and everyone knows who killed him. He was shot in Mathu's yard, and Mathu is the only black man on the place that has ever stood up for himself against the Boutans. By the time Sheriff Mapes arrives on the scene, the situation is far from simple, though. Eighteen old black men are assembled in the yard, each with a shotgun and an empty shell of the type that cut Beau down, and each one of them says he killed Beau. Candy is there, the white lady half-raised by old Mathu after her parents were killed, and she is determined to defend Mathu and all of the blacks on her land the way her parents and grandparents defended them in the past. She says she killed Beau and will confess the crime in court. Mapes has a problem on his hands. Fix Boutan, the dead man's father, is sure to come down to the quarters seeking revenge, and there is bound to be a lynching if Mapes can't get everything straightened out before Fix has time to get there.Read more ›
Ernest Gaines is a masterful writer and a compelling story-teller. The book is structured almost as a number of short stories. Each chapter adds to the whole and is told from a different persons point of view. Each short synapsis provides insight into a new character and the choices and perspectives which they hold.
This is a story about changing times, the late 1970's. This is a story about strength and dignity. This is a story about father and son. This is a story about black and white. There is so much involved in this short novel. In addition to that, it is told in a way that is interesting and readable. I had trouble putting the book down. It certainly was one of the more important books I have read in years.
I advise anyone concerned about the vitality and diversity found in American Literature to read this.
When the Cajun famer, Beau Bouton is found dead in an old black man's yard early in the story, you can rest assured that there's going to be trouble. This is when the local black community steps in to protect the accused, and prominently featured are 18 previously-downtrodden old men. These men, women and children gather together their courage to stand up to the town's redneck sheriff and local hillbillies. As you might imagine, this would not have been an easy thing to do even then, especially not without the fear of retaliation from the 'law.'
Candy, a white woman who was raised by both a white woman and the black man who stands accused of murder, is the one who helped to rally the troops within the black community and take a stand against injustice. She definitely has her moments when you might find it difficult to sympathize with her, but she seems to have a good heart.
You're also introduced to Chimley, Coot, Dirty Red and a host of characters who make this story very entertaining and almost impossible to put down.
Ernest Gaines is a true master storyteller because his books are lively and humorous, yet still give readers insight into living in the 'Old South'! Reading this book takes me back to the stories that I used to hear my parents and grandparents telling us about race relations here in the South. It may rile up my anger, but it also lays bare what has taken place and what still occurs to this day. The dialect is on point too, which I still hear spoken in some areas now.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Summer reading list at our high school. My daughter wasn't very excited she has to read it but I am always happy to find these books at great deals at AmazonPublished 29 days ago by Paul and Ann Simoneau
Nice and short. The tension builds and builds for the four or so hours it takes to read this novel. This is a world in between the old south and the south of today........ Read morePublished 2 months ago by Kindle Customer
Great story from a great writer. I also really liked his "A Lesson before Dying".Published 2 months ago by James A. Roberts
A Gathering of Old Men examines the complex relationships between whites and blacks during the early 1970s in rural Cajun Country Louisiana. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Maya
Ernest J. Gaines is a brilliant storyteller who develops such real characters that I developed strong feelings - one way or other - for each one. This book moves quickly. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Always Curious
Very interesting story. Captures well the way things used to be and the struggles to make them right!Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer