A Death in the Family

A Death in the Family The classic American novel re published for the th anniversary of James Agee s birthPublished in two years after its author s death at the age of forty five A Death in the Family remains a

  • Title: A Death in the Family
  • Author: James Agee Gerda v. Uslar
  • ISBN: 9780375701238
  • Page: 204
  • Format: Paperback
  • The classic American novel, re published for the 100th anniversary of James Agee s birthPublished in 1957, two years after its author s death at the age of forty five, A Death in the Family remains a near perfect work of art, an autobiographical novel that contains one of the most evocative depictions of loss and grief ever written As Jay Follet hurries back to his home iThe classic American novel, re published for the 100th anniversary of James Agee s birthPublished in 1957, two years after its author s death at the age of forty five, A Death in the Family remains a near perfect work of art, an autobiographical novel that contains one of the most evocative depictions of loss and grief ever written 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.

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    About “James Agee Gerda v. Uslar

    • James Agee Gerda v. Uslar

      An American author, journalist, poet, screenwriter and film critic In the 1940s, he was one of the most influential film critics in the U.S His autobiographical novel, A Death in the Family 1957 , won the author a posthumous Pulitzer Prize.LifeAgee was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, at Highland Avenue and 15th Street renamed James Agee Street in 1999 to Hugh James Agee and Laura Whitman Tyler When Agee was six, his father died in an automobile accident From the age of seven, he and his younger sister, Emma, were educated in boarding schools The most influential of these was located near his mother s summer cottage two miles from Sewanee, Tennessee Saint Andrews School for Mountain Boys was run by Episcopal monks affiliated with the Order of the Holy Cross, and it was there that Agee s lifelong friendship with an Episcopal priest, Father James Harold Flye, began in 1919 As Agee s close friend and spiritual confidant, Flye was the recipient of many of Agee s most revealing letters.Agee went to Knoxville High School for the 1924 1925 school year, then travelled with Father Flye to Europe On their return, Agee moved to boarding school in New Hampshire, entering the class of 1928 at Phillips Exeter Academy There, he was president of The Lantern Club and editor of the Monthly where his first short stories, plays, poetry and articles were published Agee was admitted to Harvard University s class of 1932 He was editor in chief of the Harvard Advocate.In 1951 in Santa Barbara, Agee, a hard drinker and chain smoker, suffered the first two in a series of heart attacks, which ultimately claimed his life four years later at the age of 45 He was buried on a farm he owned at Hillsdale, New York.CareerAfter graduation, he wrote for Fortune and Time magazines, although he is better known for his later film criticism in The Nation In 1934, he published his only volume of poetry, Permit Me Voyage.In the summer of 1936, Agee spent eight weeks on assignment for Fortune with photographer Walker Evans living among sharecroppers in Alabama Agee turned the material into a book entitled, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men 1941 It sold only 600 copies before being remaindered.In 1942, Agee became the film critic for Time and, at one point, reviewed up to six books per week Together, he and friend Whittaker Chambers ran the back of the book for Time He left to become film critic for The Nation In 1948, however, he quit both magazines to become a freelance writer One of his assignments was a well received article for Life Magazine about the great silent movie comedians, Charles Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd and Harry Langdon, which has been credited for reviving Keaton s career As a freelance in the 1950s, he continued to write magazine articles while working on movie scripts, often with photographer Helen Levitt.Agee was an ardent champion of Charlie Chaplin s then extremely unpopular film Monsieur Verdoux 1947 , which has since become a film classic He was also a great admirer of Laurence Olivier s Henry V and Hamlet, especially Henry V, for which he actually published three separate reviews, all of which have been printed in the collection Agee on Film.LegacyLet Us Now Praise Famous Men, ignored on its original publication in 1941, has been placed among the greatest literary works of the 20th Century by the New York School of Journalism and the New York Public Library.



    608 thoughts on “A Death in the Family

    • Do you want to hear a joke? Too bad. I just read James Agee’s A Death in the Family and it’s so damn depressing that all I want to do is sit in a dark closet and tremble with existential angst. This is the kind of novel that makes me want to weep into my whiskey, but that would only tighten the spiral of depression. If you’re going to take anything while reading this book, it should certainly be cocaine.**Do not take cocaine while reading this book. Or probably any other book. The best way [...]


    • An oldie (1938) but a goodie. This book is a poster child for truth in advertising: it is precisely what its title tells us. A young husband and father is taken in the prime of life. As the family gathers in the house before the funeral, we hear every comforting word, every sob. We hear the prayers with the priest; we pick up the scent of flowers; we hear the empty condolences. A grief-stricken toddler daughter is hiding under the bed. They start loading the hearse. In between these scenes we le [...]


    • You May Ask YourselfAm I Right? Am I Wrong? .Same as it ever was; same as it ever was" And you may ask yourself:Do I Want to Feel the Loss of a fictional Close Family Member?And you may tell yourself:Might Help Me through GrievingLetting the days go by, let the water hold me down ["Once in a Lifetime," Talking Heads]Set primarily in east Tennessee, A Death in the Family won the 1958 Pulitzer Prize for Lit. This book is among a handful that I could not finish reading after realizing where the nov [...]


    • When I told Brendan that I'd finished "A Death in the Family" he asked me how it made me feel. Not "What did you think of the book?" but "How did it make you feel?" I felt those hideous, unspeakable emotions that arise when contemplating the death of a loved one. I felt the suffocating sorrow knowing the worst was yet to come for the characters: after the ceremonies end and friends and family slip away to return to their lives, you are left alone and the shock wears away to leave you hopeless an [...]


    • KNOXVILLE, ESTATE 1915James Agee, uomo del sud (Tennessee), nacque nel 1909 e morì giovane, a soli quarantacinque anni.Fu scrittore, giornalista, poeta, sceneggiatore e critico, letterario prima e cinematografico dopo. Collaborò e firmò insieme ad altri la sceneggiatura di The African Queen, il celebre film di John Huston, e scrisse lo script di The Night of the Hunter-La morte corre sul fiume, capolavoro dell’attore e regista inglese Charles Laughton, che intervenne sul copione se non altr [...]


    • Agee's autobiographical masterpiece was still in unfinished form when he died—a labour of love for him, he apparently tinkered with its content and structure endlessly. What he was producing was a remarkable, plenitudinous look at a relatively mundane subject: the effect of the death of a young, strong, and good man on his wife, children and family. We are introduced to this average, likeable Tennessee family—based upon Agee's own childhood—dealing with their daily share of struggles, trou [...]


    • James Agee was only six years old when his young father died in an automobile accident. "A Death in the Family" is an autobiographical novel of that sad time with much of the novel seen through a child's eyes. The novel was unfinished when James Agee also died at a young age. His editor had to decide where to place several gorgeously written flashback scenes of happier days for the family so that they would not detract from the main story.The beginning of the novel shows the love between Jay and [...]


    • Rufus seldom had at all sharply the feeling that he and his father were estranged, yet they must have been, and he must have felt it, for always during these quiet moments on the rock a part of his sense of complete contentment lay in the feeling that they were reconciled, that there was really no division, no estrangement, or none so strong, anyhow, that it could mean much, by comparison with the unity that was so firm and assured, here. He felt that although his father loved their home and lov [...]


    • This isn't a difficult book but it's certainly not traditional. There is practically no profluence beyond the natural causality of a single incident--the death of a good man. In other words, there are no surprises, nothing is coming that you don't already know, no real "narrative" reason to turn the page. Rather, the book is held together by a string of incredibly detailed descriptions of highly emotional moments in one family's life. The vivid inner lives of the characters that Agee creates are [...]


    • What do I do? I am worrying about my rating of A Death in the Family. I was uncomfortable with all the stuff about religion in the book. This and the funeral at the end were difficult for me to bear. I am altering the rating to four. The rating reflects my personal preferences. ********************************I have chosen to give this book five stars because it so very accurately portrays death in a Southern family. It has in-depth character portrayals and excellent writing. I didn't enjoy read [...]


    • original note: This book so far is giving me some comfort.It's on a list of the 101 best novels since 1923 that I haven't studied yet, but think it may sit better with me than the 1001 previously discussed. This Bantam edition I guess I've had since 1983. It says it's the 13th printing and portions were previously published in The Partisan Review, The Cambridge Review, The New Yorker, and Harper's Bazaar: all publications worthy of such incredible writing. One half to three quarters of the way t [...]


    • James Agee died very suddenly in his early forties after he'd been working on this novel for several years. Those who published it posthumously had to piece it together as best they could, so there are some sections that don't quite fit where they were placed. However, this is still a very powerful piece, and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1958. The story itself is very simple. In 1915, a young man with a wife and two children is instantly killed one night in a car accident. The book follows the grie [...]


    • This book starts out gentle and familiar with the description of a father and young son at the movie house watching Charlie Chaplin. It is a silent film of course and the words not spoken are acted out on the screen as they are in life. But in life there is not the Chaplinesque exaggeration. As both a father and a son, I am touched by the obvious bond that exists. And as I understand that the words are reflecting back on events of many years ago, I am drawn in by the skill of the author who plac [...]


    • A masterpiece of characterization. I can't wait for the BBC Radio 4 discussion about it with the author.A month after the above sentences, I discovered that the book of the month announced, though of the same title, is actually the first volume of My Struggle by Karl Ove Knausgaard, another highly acclaimed 'A Death in the Family'. Well, I will read that one as well. All I can say is that it was a lucky mistake :-)


    • Agee's prose seems to me deeply influenced by Faulkner, but with an uncanny ring of Chekhov. Still reading.


    • So infinitely sad. These people are so completely presented in all their parts and thoughts, imperfections, each totally human thought as it occurs at the totally inappropriate moment. This is life on the page.--This was my thought when I was about half way through this novel. How was I to know that it was to become even more sad to the point of wishing I could explain to a child as I read the final page. Everything rings true. "Andrew," Mary broke in, "tell Mama. she's just dying to know what w [...]


    • “And no matter what, there's not one thing in this world or the next that we can do or hope or guess at or wish or pray that can change it or help it one iota. Because whatever is, is. That's all. And all there is now is to be ready for it, strong enough for it, whatever it may be. That's all. That's all that matters. It's all that matters because it's all that's possible. ” James Agee's 'A Death in the Family' was published posthumously and also won the late author a Pulitzer Prize. In addi [...]


    • It is impossible for me to inject any levity into a review of A Death in the Family. No “headline” here, as has been my wont in other reviews. Yes, the pretext for the novel is a death in the family, but the subject matter is the experience of life.The best captured experience of life here is from the point of view of a 6-year-old boy in the context of the untimely death of his father. If someone were to ask me what it was like to be a little boy, I would refer them to this text. The reason [...]


    • I was really looking forward to this book. It is spoken of so highly, was graced with a Pulitzer Prize and published posthumously after the untimely death of its young author. However I waited in vain for it to catch fire and was quite disappointed overall. It clearly packed much more of a wallop when first printed but now seems rather dated and less powerful than it once was. At least to me.Certainly there are lyric passages of great beauty, the most famous of which would be the introductory "K [...]


    • Heartbreaking and raw. I don't believe I've ever read a book or seen a movie that so realistically portrays a death in the family and what every single member goes through; the weaving of conversations and thoughts between the characters, and being an outsider looking in, some of the conversations and things that were said to Mary and the children. People think they are doing good and mean well, when actually they are saying all the wrong things. And that priest, I wanted to kick him out the doo [...]


    • it's true that this book contains some beautifully evocative and poignant images of a family's grief, but overall it was a real struggle to get through. i haven't read a book like this since my american lit classes in grad school, and i can't say that i miss the style of early 20th century prose. james agee died before this novel was finished, and the published version contains two long sections that suggest, to me, that he had a longer work in mind, one that might have revolved primarily around [...]


    • This was the second time that I read this book in a two year period and it is as gorgeous and grotesque as I remember. "She wanted to hold her niece at arms' length and to turn and admire this blossoming. She wanted to take her in her arms and groan unto God for what it meant to be alive(p120).""Suddenly there opened within her a chasm of infinite depth and from it flowed the paralyzing breath of eternal darkness. I believe nothing. Nothing whatever." (p121)"Just spunk won't be enough; you've go [...]


    • 5 Stars for the writing. 2 Stars for the story - in MY opinion. This was a rough book to listen to. The writing is amazing and lyrical and you feel all the feels you are supposed to be feeling. And I felt so bad for both Rufus and Katherine as they struggle to figure out what is going on around them. BUT! There were parts of this story that I just didn't like; didn't like the writing, or the story, or what was going on. Hence the 2 stars. I struggled with a lot of the story in general; some of i [...]


    • How this won a Pulitzer is beyond me. Perhaps as a tribute to a dead, famous author? "A Death in the Family" was published posthumously, after all.Nonetheless, this book is a prime example of why posthumously publishing anything is a terrible idea: the craft of writing is much more about editing, revisions, and rewriting than it is just about ~writing~. There are golden moments in here - particularly with the alcoholic brother - but they are few and far between because it seems that no one dared [...]


    • This is not a poorly-written book, only an extremely boring one. I had to force myself to read it because I felt surely there was some redeeming quality in it that would merit its being awarded a Pulitzer Prize. That being said, I feel it is a particular type of reader which appreciates this style of writing. As for myself, it makes me want to punch a wall or break things when I have to plod through painstaking descriptions of people's thoughts, going round and round over the same thing like a d [...]



    • A three-part story that delves into the life of Jay Johnson and his family. It starts with little Rufus, his son and ends with his son trying to understand the death of his father and what that means to him. I was a little disoriented trying to figure out where the author was and who was speaking at the time but finally caught up. The story is slow to start and will drag in some areas. To me, the author didn't delve into a lot of things that occur in a family when someone is killed and the emoti [...]


    • As I came to an end of reading the novel Death in the Family by James Agee, I felt unbelievably like I was Rose in the 1999 movie remake of Titanic, when Jack dies at the heart of the Atlantic Ocean. Tears just came streaming down my face like how I felt after watching that movie. Not one other book has ever made me feel like I have after reading this story. I feel this book was extremely relatable for people who have lost loved ones which have passed away. As someone who has lost a close family [...]


    • I'm moving through those classics on the '100 books' every reader should readc, whatever. (There are a lot of such lists, and on many of them I've already read a good half to three quarters of the books. Anyhow)I hadn't read this one, though the movie version with Robert Preston is one of my favorites. The book is a sad one, big reveal. Whenever I felt a little bit of optimism, the next page was a huge sink that just swallowed me up. I've been there, in terrible and all-consuming grief, but at a [...]


    • I read this book for my fall freshman year of college, for an English lit course, and it made a huge impression on me. I think I’ve reread it only once, and that was decades ago, but it remains a powerful influence.I think that this book does a better job than any other I’ve read of communicating the innocence of young children and of portraying how their perceptions of events can be different from those of adults.The writing style is lovely and the book is very well written, the characters [...]


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