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A Death in the Family by James Agee

A Death in the Family (original 1957; edition 1998)

by James Agee

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2,204502,944 (3.91)137
Title:A Death in the Family
Authors:James Agee
Info:Vintage (1998), Edition: 1st Vintage International ed, Paperback, 320 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:20th century, american literature, death, family, pulitzer prize, southern literature, tennessee

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A Death in the Family by James Agee (1957)


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Showing 1-5 of 47 (next | show all)
bored me to tears when i read it 20 years ago ( )
  longhorndaniel | Jul 19, 2017 |
Pultizer Prize winner
Slow Read — beautiful writing

As Jay Follet hurries back to his home in Knoxville, Tennessee, he is killed in a car accident--a tragedy that destroys not only a life but also the domestic happiness and contentment of a young family. A novel of great courage, lyric force, and powerful emotion, A Death in the Family is a masterpiece of American literature.
  christinejoseph | Jun 19, 2017 |
Shouldn't I love a Pulitzer Prize winning book? I can understand the grief of this family that lost its husband/father/child because he seems a genuinely nice man. Unfortunately, I don't like anyone else nearly as well. This book centered on grief didn't affect me nearly as much as, say, Joan Didion's "Year of Magical Thinking." ( )
  LeslieHurd | Jan 11, 2017 |
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. ( )
3 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. ( )
1 vote bpeters65 | Jul 16, 2016 |
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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.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Please do not combine with "A death in the family : a restoration of the author's text"
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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)

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