Friday, August 19, 2022

Nine titles that consider the meaning of life by confronting death

Coco Picard is a writer, cartoonist, and curator. She is the author of the novel The Healing Circle (2022), which won the Red Hen Press Women's Prose Prize, as well as The Chronicles of Fortune (2017), which was nominated for a DiNKy Award. Art criticism and comics have otherwise appeared under the name Caroline Picard in Artforum, Hyperallergic, The Paris Review, and Seven Stories Press, among others. She started the Green Lantern Press in 2005, received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute, and was a Bookends Fellow at Stony Brook University.

At Electric Lit Picard tagged nine novels that don't fear the reaper, including:
A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines

Jefferson, a young, uneducated Black man in a 1940s Cajun community, is the sole survivor of a liquor store shoot-out. Though innocent, he is convicted of the crime and given a death sentence. Meanwhile, Grant Wiggins, a university graduate, has just returned to teach at a local plantation school and wrestles with his decision, imagining he might be better off leaving the past behind and moving to another state. Upon the urging of his immediate family, Wiggins visits Jefferson and agrees to offer what lessons he can. The burgeoning friendship between these two men allows Gaines—himself born as a fifth-generation sharecropper in Louisiana—to explore questions around life, justice, the pursuit of knowledge, and the reverberations of racism.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue