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book cover of A Lesson Before Dying

A Lesson Before Dying

(1993)
A novel by

 
 
Awards
Oprah's Book Club Best Book (nominee)
In a small Cajun community in 1940s Louisiana, a young black man is about to go to the electric chair for murder. A white shopkeeper had died during a robbery gone bad; though the young man on trial had not been armed and had not pulled the trigger, in that time and place, there could be no doubt of the verdict or the penalty.

"I was not there, yet I was there. No, I did not go to the trial, I did not hear the verdict, because I knew all the time what it would be..." So begins Grant Wiggins, the narrator of Ernest J. Gaines's powerful exploration of race, injustice, and resistance, A Lesson Before Dying. If young Jefferson, the accused, is confined by the law to an iron-barred cell, Grant Wiggins is no less a prisoner of social convention. University educated, Grant has returned to the tiny plantation town of his youth, where the only job available to him is teaching in the small plantation church school. More than 75 years after the close of the Civil War, antebellum attitudes still prevail: African Americans go to the kitchen door when visiting whites and the two races are rigidly separated by custom and by law. Grant, trapped in a career he doesn't enjoy, eaten up by resentment at his station in life, and angered by the injustice he sees all around him, dreams of taking his girlfriend Vivian and leaving Louisiana forever. But when Jefferson is convicted and sentenced to die, his grandmother, Miss Emma, begs Grant for one last favor: to teach her grandson to die like a man.

As Grant struggles to impart a sense of pride to Jefferson before he must face his death, he learns an important lesson as well: heroism is not always expressed through action--sometimes the simple act of resisting the inevitable is enough. Populated by strong, unforgettable characters, Ernest J. Gaines's A Lesson Before Dying offers a lesson for a lifetime.From the author of A Gathering of Old Men and The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman comes a deep and compassionate novel. A young man who returns to 1940s Cajun country to teach visits a black youth on death row for a crime he didn't commit. Together they come to understand the heroism of resisting.


From the Trade Paperback edition.In this novel, a young man who returns to 1940s Cajun country to teach visits a black youth on death row for a crime he didn't commit. Together they come to understand the heroism of resisting.

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Used availability for Ernest J Gaines's A Lesson Before Dying

Hardback Editions

October 2008 : USA Library Binding
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Title: A Lesson Before Dying
Author(s): Ernest J Gaines
ISBN: 1-4395-5931-7 / 978-1-4395-5931-4 (USA edition)
Publisher: Random House
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


September 1997 : USA Library Binding
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Title: A Lesson Before Dying (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)
Author(s): Ernest J Gaines
ISBN: 0-7857-6981-1 / 978-0-7857-6981-1 (USA edition)
Publisher: Turtleback Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


November 1998 : USA Hardback
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Title: A Lesson Before Dying
Author(s): Ernest J Gaines
ISBN: 0-517-26919-8 / 978-0-517-26919-0 (USA edition)
Publisher: Random House Value Publishing
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


September 1997 : USA Hardback
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Title: A Lesson Before Dying
Author(s): Ernest J Gaines
ISBN: 0-679-45561-2 / 978-0-679-45561-5 (USA edition)
Publisher: Knopf
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


September 1997 : USA Library Binding
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Title: A Lesson Before Dying (Vintage Contemporaries)
Author(s): Ernest J Gaines
ISBN: 0-7807-5288-0 / 978-0-7807-5288-7 (USA edition)
Publisher: Perfection Learning
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


April 1994 : USA Hardback
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Title: A Lesson Before Dying (Curley Large Print Books)
Author(s): Ernest J Gaines
ISBN: 0-7927-1795-3 / 978-0-7927-1795-9 (USA edition)
Publisher: Chivers North Amer
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


June 1994 : USA Turtleback

Title: A Lesson Before Dying
Author(s): Ernest J Gaines
ISBN: 0-606-07150-4 / 978-0-606-07150-5 (USA edition)
Publisher: Demco Media
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


March 1993 : USA Hardback
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Title: A Lesson Before Dying
Author(s): Ernest J Gaines
ISBN: 0-679-41477-0 / 978-0-679-41477-3 (USA edition)
Publisher: Knopf
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


Paperback Editions

June 2015 : UK Paperback
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Title: A Lesson Before Dying (Serpent's Tail Classics)
Author(s): Ernest J Gaines
ISBN: 1-84668-786-1 / 978-1-84668-786-0 (UK edition)
Publisher: Serpent's Tail
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


April 2010 : USA Paperback
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Title: A Lesson Before Dying (Kennebec Large Print Perennial Favorites Collection)
Author(s): Ernest Gaines
ISBN: 1-4104-2544-4 / 978-1-4104-2544-7 (USA edition)
Publisher: Kennebec Large Print
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


February 2001 : UK Paperback
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Title: A Lesson Before Dying (Five Star)
Author(s): Ernest J Gaines
ISBN: 1-85242-723-X / 978-1-85242-723-8 (UK edition)
Publisher: Serpent's Tail
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


January 2001 : USA Paperback
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Title: A Lesson Before Dying - Acting Edition
Author(s): Romulus Linney, Ernest J Gaines
ISBN: 0-8222-1785-6 / 978-0-8222-1785-5 (USA edition)
Publisher: Dramatist's Play Service
Availability: Amazon   


October 1999 : USA Paperback
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Title: CliffsNotes on Gaines' A Lesson Before Dying
Author(s): Durthy A Washington
ISBN: 0-7645-8503-7 / 978-0-7645-8503-6 (USA edition)
Publisher: Cliffs Notes
Availability: Amazon UK   


September 1998 : UK Paperback
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Title: A Lesson Before Dying
Author(s): Ernest J Gaines
ISBN: 1-85242-617-9 / 978-1-85242-617-0 (UK edition)
Publisher: Serpent's Tail
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   


1998 : Australia Paperback
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Title: A Lesson Before Dying
Author(s): Ernest J Gaines
ISBN: 0-7336-0923-6 / 978-0-7336-0923-7 (Australia edition)
Publisher: Sceptre
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   


September 1994 : USA Paperback
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Title: A Lesson Before Dying (Oprah's Book Club)
Author(s): Ernest J Gaines
ISBN: 0-375-70270-9 / 978-0-375-70270-9 (USA edition)
Publisher: Vintage
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA   


April 1994 : USA Paperback

Title: A Lesson Before Dying/Large Print (Curley Large Print Books)
Author(s): Ernest J Gaines
ISBN: 0-7927-1794-5 / 978-0-7927-1794-2 (USA edition)
Publisher: Chivers North Amer
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


May 1994 : USA Paperback
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Title: A Lesson Before Dying (Vintage Contemporaries)
Author(s): Ernest J Gaines
ISBN: 0-679-74166-6 / 978-0-679-74166-4 (USA edition)
Publisher: Vintage
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


1993 : USA Paperback
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Title: A Lesson Before Dying
Author(s): Ernest J Gaines
ISBN: 0-679-75403-2 / 978-0-679-75403-9 (USA edition)
Publisher: KNOPF.
Availability: Amazon   


Audio Editions

May 2016 : MP3 CD
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Title: A Lesson Before Dying
Author(s): Ernest Gaines
ISBN: 1-5226-0986-5 / 978-1-5226-0986-5
Publisher: L.A. Theatre Works MP3-CD from Brilliance Audio
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


February 2006 : USA Audio CD
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Title: Lesson Before Dying (Lib)(CD)
Author(s): Ernest J Gaines
ISBN: 1-4159-2943-2 / 978-1-4159-2943-8 (USA edition)
Publisher: Books on Tape
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA   


May 2005 : USA Audio CD
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Title: A Lesson Before Dying
Author(s): Ernest J Gaines
ISBN: 0-7393-2367-9 / 978-0-7393-2367-0 (USA edition)
Publisher: Random House Audio
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


April 2002 : USA Audio Cassette
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Title: A Lesson Before Dying
Author(s): Ernest J Gaines
ISBN: 1-58081-238-4 / 978-1-58081-238-2 (USA edition)
Publisher: L.A. Theatre Works
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA   


February 2002 : USA Audio CD
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Title: A Lesson Before Dying (Library Edition Audio CDs) (Audio Theatre Collection)
Author(s): Ernest J Gaines
ISBN: 1-58081-228-7 / 978-1-58081-228-3 (USA edition)
Publisher: L.A. Theatre Works
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


2001 : USA Audio Cassette
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Title: A Lesson Before Dying
Author(s): Ernest Gaines
ISBN: 1-57815-214-3 / 978-1-57815-214-8 (USA edition)
Publisher: Media Books Llc
Availability: Amazon   


December 1999 : USA Audio edition
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Title: A Lesson Before Dying
Author(s): Ernest J Gaines
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Availability: Amazon   


December 1999 : Canada Audio edition
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Title: A Lesson Before Dying
Author(s): Ernest J Gaines
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Availability: Amazon CA   


December 1999 : UK Audio edition
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Title: A Lesson Before Dying
Author(s): Ernest J Gaines
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Availability: Amazon UK   


October 1997 : USA Audio Cassette
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Title: Ernest J. Gaines
Author(s): A Lesson Before Dying Edition: First
ISBN: 0-375-40258-6 / 978-0-375-40258-6 (USA edition)
Publisher: Random House Audio
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


February 1995 : USA Audio Cassette
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Title: A Lesson Before Dying
Author(s): Ernest J Gaines
ISBN: 1-57042-223-0 / 978-1-57042-223-2 (USA edition)
Publisher: Time Warner Audiobooks
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA   


April 1994 : Audio Cassette
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Title: Lesson Before Dying
Author(s): Ernest J Gaines
ISBN: 5553845807 / 978-5553845803
Publisher: Books on Tape
Availability: Amazon CA   


March 1994 : USA Audio Cassette
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Title: A Lesson Before Dying
Author(s): Ernest J Gaines
ISBN: 0-7366-2688-3 / 978-0-7366-2688-0 (USA edition)
Publisher: Books on Tape, Inc.
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA   


Kindle Editions

June 2015 : UK Kindle edition
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Title: A Lesson Before Dying (Serpent's Tail Classics)
Author(s): Ernest J Gaines
Publisher: Serpent's Tail
Availability: Amazon UK   


January 2004 : USA, Canada Kindle edition
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Title: A Lesson Before Dying: A Novel (Vintage Contemporaries)
Author(s): Ernest J Gaines
Publisher: Vintage
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA