A Gathering of Old Men


A Gathering of Old Men
A Gathering of Old Men  
Author(s) Ernest J. Gaines
Country United States
Language English
Genre(s) Novel
Publisher Knopf
Publication date 1983
Media type Print (Hardcover)
Pages 213 pp
ISBN ISBN 0-394-51468-8
OCLC Number 9682782
Dewey Decimal 813/.54 19
LC Classification PS3557.A355 G3 1983

A Gathering of Old Men is a novel by Ernest J. Gaines published in 1983.

Set on a 1970s Louisiana cane farm, the novel addresses racial discrimination and a bond that cannot be usurped.

Plot summary

One afternoon, a white woman discovers that a Cajun farmer has been shot in Mathu's, a black man's, yard. She enlists the help of seventeen other old black men by having them come to Mathu's yard, each with a shotgun and one empty number 5 shell. She and the men all claim to be responsible for the murder, in an effort to protect the guilty party and make things difficult for Sheriff Mapes.

Film adaptation

In 1987 Volker Schlöndorff, a famous German director, made a film, also titled A Gathering of Old Men (aka Murder on the Bayou), which adheres closely to the novel. It stars Richard Widmark (as Sheriff Mapes), Louis Gossett Jr. (as Mathu), Holly Hunter (as Candy), Joe Seneca (as Clatoo), and Will Patton (as Lou Dimes).


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