by Ernest Gaines | Grades 9-12 | Lexile Level: 1120
About The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman
"This is a novel in the guise of the tape-recorded recollections of a black woman who has lived 110 years, who has been both a slave and a witness to the black militancy of the 1960's.
In this woman Ernest Gaines has created a legendary figure, a woman equipped to stand beside William Faulkner's Dilsey in "The Sound And The Fury." Miss Jane Pittman, like Dilsey, has 'endured, ' has seen almost everything and foretold the rest. Gaines' novel brings to mind other great works "The Odyssey for the way his heroine's travels manage to summarize the American history of her race, and "Huckleberry Finn for the clarity of her voice, for her rare capacity to sort through the mess of years and things to find the one true story in it all." -- Geoffrey Wolff, Newsweek.
"Stunning. I know of no black novel about the South that excludes quite the same refreshing mix of wit and wrath, imagination and indignation, misery and poetry. And I can recall no more memorable female character in Southern fiction since Lena of Faulkner's Light In August than Miss Jane Pittman." -- Josh Greenfeld, Life
Biographical Note About Ernest Gaines
Ernest Gaines is a writer-in-residence at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. His 1993 novel, A Lesson Before Dying, won the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. In 2004, he was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature. Gaines' A Lesson Before Dying was an Oprah Book Club pick in 1997.