Catherine Carmierby Ernest J. Gaines
After living in San Francisco for ten years, Jackson returns home to his benefactor, Aunt Charlotte. Surrounded by family
By the author of A Lesson Before Dying and The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, Catherine Carmier is a compelling love story set in a deceptively bucolic Louisiana countryside, where blacks, Cajuns, and whites maintain an uneasy coexistence.
After living in San Francisco for ten years, Jackson returns home to his benefactor, Aunt Charlotte. Surrounded by family and old friends, he discovers that his bonds to them have been irreparably rent by his absence. In the midst of his alienation from those around him, he falls in love with Catherine Carmier, setting the stage for conflicts and confrontations which are complex, tortuous, and universal in their implications.
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Catharine Carmier focuses upon a theme with which all Louisianans are familiar: Creole/ African- American relations. The protagonist, Jackson, an educated Black man who has returned to his home after ten years, seeks for something serious, meaningful, and special. After having been educated in California, he comes back to Louisiana tired of his Black people, and disenchanted by the Church. While looking for this "something," he finds Catherine Carmier, a Creole woman and her father, Raoul. The rest is in the narrative. For those who were reared in the Jim Crow South, Creole/ Black relations were real. There was a strict separation between the two classes. Creoles had their own communities, and the Blacks had their own communities. Gaines captures all of this. In addition to capturing the uniqueness of this system, Gaines captures the universality of life, death, and young adult life. Indeed, this novel is bildungsroman in nature. Please, read this book. It will give life to those who seek it, for all, at one time or another, has found herself or himself in Jackson's footsteps: looking for a meaningful place in this hectic life, especially after having been educated.