Gathering of Old Men
by Ernest Gaines
"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 his 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.
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