HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

A death in the family by James Agee
Loading...

A death in the family (original 1957; edition 1969)

by James Agee

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,125463,082 (3.91)133
Member:utterly_serious
Title:A death in the family
Authors:James Agee
Info:
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:None

Work details

A Death in the Family by James Agee (1957)

Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 133 mentions

English (44)  Dutch (2)  All languages (46)
Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
In beautiful lyrical writing the story examines the emotions and thoughts after a death in the family. Jay Follet is called to see his father who is ill. On his return journey to his wife Mary and children, he is killed in a car crash.

Early in the story Jay and Mary's son Rufus asks excellent, but difficult to answer questions about death, heaven and God. "Will the cat be in heaven too? And the rabbits? Will they still be all bloody?" In a way, it was a childish version of what the adults would consider later, when they were trying to come to terms with Jay's death. Agee describes so well the literal way that children react to death. Although the pacing is slow as events are described in excruciating detail, the beautiful writing keeps this book engaging. ( )
1 vote VivienneR | Jul 18, 2016 |
A Death in the Family reveals the plot in it's title. It premise is simple: A father dies and the family deals with his death. The difficult part is telling the children, and so it goes on...
The prose by James Agee is poetic and startling in it's ability to stir emotions and describe the beauty of it's time and place. I was moved by his writing.
I was not moved, however, by the plot as I had anticipated. I was more emotional while reading A Year of Magical Thinking. James Agee's book felt dated in some ways, and I had difficulties relating to Mary and her grief. I felt much more connected to Rufus, and felt strongly the relationship he had with his father. 3 stars is all I have for this at the moment. Maybe 4 if I was just rating his writing, which was beautiful. ( )
  bpeters65 | Jul 16, 2016 |
'nobody that ever lived is specially privileged; the axe can fall at any moment on any neck'
By sally tarbox on 3 April 2013
Format: Paperback
A heartbreaking work about the first few days after a death, from the point of view of a wife and her two small children.
For the first third of the book, Agee lets us into normal family life prior to the accident. The reader is constantly aware of the dreaded axe about to fall, and as good natured father Jay is called out in the middle of the night to visit his own sick father, the reader is aware of hints and symbols:
"It was just nearing daybreak when he came to the river; he had to rap several times on the window of the little shanty before the ferryman awoke."
The uncertainty in the immediate aftermath ;the confusion in the children's minds; religious dissent between family members (as their deeply Catholic mother struggles to maintain her faith: ' "For Thine is the kingdom, and the power and the glory", she said with almost vindictive certitude.')
Wonderfully written and with hope amid the tragedy... ( )
  starbox | Jul 10, 2016 |
This is the autobiographical story of what happens when the anchor of a family dies unexpectedly. Set in 1915.
The language of Death in the Family is lyrical and breathtaking. Three scenes worth mentioning: Father Jay sets out to visit his dying father after receiving a middle-of-the-night call from his alcoholic brother. His father has suffered another heart attack and this time it's bad. Jay's wife, Mary, lovingly makes him a huge breakfast before his trip despite the early hour. He in return remakes the bed for her. Their exchanged goodbyes are tenderhearted and endearing. In a flashback, when their son experiences a nightmare, Agee describes these night visions in words that are nothing short of enthralling. But, the best part is when Jay comes in to console his son, Rufus. This last scene is heartbreaking. Via a telephone call, Mary has been told there has been a serious accident involving her husband and "a man" needs to come. She isn't told anything more than that. Mary and her aunt wait up, agonizing over every little word exchanged during the short phone call. Mary's worry bleeds from the pages. ( )
  SeriousGrace | Jun 20, 2016 |
Seriously somber analysis of the effects of a father's death on his survivors. Nice prose deeply analyzing loss and how a family comes together to go on with life. ( )
  dugmel | Apr 27, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
We are talking now of summer evenings in Knoxville, Tennessee, in the time that I lived there so successfully disguised to myself as a child.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Please do not combine with "A death in the family : a restoration of the author's text"
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375701230, Paperback)

Forty years after its original publication, James Agee's last novel seems, more than ever, an American classic. For in his lyrical, sorrowful account of a man's death and its impact on his family, Agee painstakingly created a small world of domestic happiness and then showed how quickly and casually it could be destroyed.

On a sultry summer night in 1915, Jay Follet leaves his house in Knoxville, Tennessee, to tend to his father, whom he believes is dying. The summons turns out to be a false alarm, but on his way back to his family, Jay has a car accident and is killed instantly. Dancing back and forth in time and braiding the viewpoints of Jay's wife, brother, and young son, Rufus, Agee creates an overwhelmingly powerful novel of innocence, tenderness, and loss that should be read aloud for the sheer music of its prose.

"An utterly individual and original book...one of the most deeply worked out expressions of human feeling that I have ever read."--Alfred Kazin, New York Times Book Review

"It is, in the full sense, poetry....The language of the book, at once luminous and discreet...remains in the mind."--New Republic

"People I know who read A Death in the Family forty years ago still talk about it. So do I. It is a great book, and I'm happy to see it done anew."--Andre Dubus, author of Dancing After Hours and Meditations From A Moveable Chair

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:21 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

On a sultry summer night in 1915, Jay Follet leaves his house in Knoxville, Tennessee, to tend to his father, whom he believes is dying. The summons turns out to be a false alarm, but on his way back to his family, Jay has a car accident and is killed instantly, leaving his wife, brother, and young son to deal with his sudden death.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 8 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
106 wanted6 pay9 pay

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.91)
0.5
1 12
1.5 3
2 13
2.5 6
3 64
3.5 26
4 127
4.5 14
5 115

Audible.com

5 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 109,261,140 books! | Top bar: Always visible