Ernest Gaines’s A Lesson Before Dying was the one novel that Jan could not put down when he read it in high school. Gaines wrote with such clarity and color that anyone can feel immediately transported to rural Louisiana by reading his books.
Gaines was *so* real in his writing that people couldn’t help but produce television movie adaptations for four of his novels. Gaines’s first hit, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, starred the late and great Cicely Tyson, who won two Emmy Awards for her leading role.
Gaines attributed the power of his stories to the people he loved in Point Coupee Parish, Louisiana. It was there that he listened to the stories of his elders and learned his craft before he had ever opened a book.