A Death in the Family (Penguin Classics) by James Agee

By James Agee

The vintage American novel, re-published for the one hundredth anniversary of James Agee's birth

Published in 1957, years after its author's dying on the age of forty-five, A dying within the Family remains a near-perfect murals, an autobiographical novel that includes the most evocative depictions of loss and grief ever written. As Jay Follet hurries again to his domestic in Knoxville, Tennessee, he's killed in a vehicle accident—a tragedy that destroys not just a existence, but in addition the household happiness and contentment of a tender kinfolk. a unique of serious braveness, lyric strength, and robust emotion, A dying within the Family is a masterpiece of yank literature.

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I don’t give a damn if you’re drunk or sober, far’s you’re concerned: point is this, Ralph. ” “You think I’m a lyin to you? ” “Shut up, Ralph. Course you’re not. But if you’re drunk you can get an exaggerated idea how serious a thing is. Now you think a minute. Just think it over. And remember nobody’s goin to think bad of you if you change your mind, or for calling either. ” Ralph was silent. Jay changed his feet around. He suddenly realized how foolish he had been to try to get anything level-headed out of Ralph.

And the hand lifted from him and they both stood up. The rest of the way home they did not speak, or put on their hats. When he was nearly asleep Rufus heard once more the crumpling of freight cars, and deep in the night he heard the crumpling of subdued voices and the words, “Naw: I’ll probly be back before they’re asleep”; then quick feet creaking quietly downstairs. But by the time he heard the creaking and departure of the Ford, he was already so deeply asleep that it seemed only a part of a dream, and by next morning, when his mother explained to them why his father was not at breakfast, he had so forgotten the words and the noises that years later, when he remembered them, he could never be sure that he was not making them up.

Listen here. ” Ralph was silent. ” Jay started to say, “Yeah, Paw,” in tight rage, but he heard Ralph begin again. He can’t help it, he thought, and waited. “Why, naw, he ain’t dead,” Ralph said, deflated. The darkness lifted considerably from Jay: coldly, he listened to Ralph whickering up his feelings again. ” He began to wonder whether Ralph was sober enough to be trusted; Ralph heard, and misunderstood the doubt in his voice. His own voice became dignified. “Course that’s entirely up to you, Jay.

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