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"
"Gaines knows how to tell a story. . . . [He writes] with humor, a strong sense of drama and a compassionate understanding of people who find themselves in opposing positions." --Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post "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
"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
"A fine novel . . . there is a denouement that will shock and move readers as much as it does the characters, and a multiplicity of themes that raises a simple tale to grand signfiicance." --David Bradley, Philadelphia Inquirer