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A Death in the Family Hardcover – Large Print, Feb 2000


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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 392 pages
  • Publisher: Center Point Large Print; Lrg edition (Feb. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585470066
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585470068
  • Product Dimensions: 22.3 x 15.4 x 2.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,250,307 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"[James Agee's words] are so indelibly etched someplace inside of me that I couldn't reach to rub them out even if I wanted to. And I never want to." -Steve Earle, from the Introduction "The work of a writer whose power with English words can make you gasp." -Alfred Kazin, "The 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." -"The New Republic" " Wonderfully alive." -"The New Yorker" --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

James Agee was born in Tennesse in 1909 and graduated from Harvard University. His renowned study of Alabama sharecroppers during the Depression, 'Let Us Now Praise Famous Men', appeared in 1941. Agee was known for his movie reviews and screenplays, and published a volume of poetry and a novella. He died in 1955, two years before his major work of fiction, A Death in the Family, was published and won the Pulitzer Prize.

Blake Morrison was born in Skipton, Yorkshire, in 1950.His non-fiction books include And When Did You Last See Your Father? (1993), As If (1997), Too True (1998), Things My Mother Never Told Me (2002). His first novel, The Justification of Johann Gutenberg was published in 2000. Blake Morrison lives in London.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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First Sentence
At supper that night, as many times before, his father said, "Well, spose we go to the picture show." Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John P. Jones III TOP 500 REVIEWER on 7 Mar. 2011
Format: Paperback
My older Avon edition, with the far more appropriate cover of the empty easy chair, had only one "blurb" on the back, from the now defunct "Saturday Review," which stopped publication in 1986. It said: "There's nothing quite like the excitement of coming upon a book and suddenly having it explode at you and fill you with wonder. Such a book is `A Death in the Family'." The quintessential blurb. I've remembered it for the 43 years since my first reading, and upon the second reading, find it equally appropriate and descriptive.

James Agee starts the book with an equally memorable sentence, as well as introductory passage: "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." From the title to the section, you know that the year is 1915, a date that can evoke nostalgia. The men, and yes it was mainly men, came home from work, ate dinner at 6:00 pm, and with no TV, at 6:30 would go outside to water the lawn, and the evenings were enjoyed on the front porch. Agee has a brilliantly precise depiction of the ritual of watering the lawn, from the noise in the hose, to the bell-shaped film of water that the spray can assume. I've rarely been able to use a hose since without recalling this descriptive passage.

The novel spans the two or three days which surround the death of Jay Follet in a car accident, and the subsequent impact his death had on his wife, their two small children, as well as the rest of the family. Yes, it was a simpler time, with cars in their infancy, and we learn that it was one cotter pin that fell out of the steering mechanism which resulted in the crash.

Much of the book is told from the point of view of the Follet's son, Rufus.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By "marklee35" on 13 Jun. 2001
Format: Hardcover
How far we all come. How far we all come away from ourselves....You can never go home again." - Quote from A Death in the Family
Rufus James Agee was born in a little house in the Fort Sanders Neighborhood in Knoxville, Tennessee. His November 17, 1909 birth was little noticed outside of his family. He was baptized at St. John's Episcopal Church, and grew up in a stable and loving family. However, the day his postal-worker father died in an auto accident marked the end of his carefree existence. This accident scarred the family forever, but produced a genius.
In 1916 at the age of seven, soon after his father's death, James was sent away to boarding school in the Appalachians. At Saint Andrews Seminary, he was introduced to classical literature, music, and the benefits of determined study. It is also where he felt most isolated and rejected by his family. His hard academic work paid off when he received a scholarship to Exeter Academy. From there, James made his way to Harvard University.
After graduation in 1932, James began working as journalist for Fortune Magazine. During his time in New York, he published his only volume of poetry, Permit Me Voyage. In 1936 James and a friend, famed photographer Walker Evans, returned to the south to document the lives of Southern farmers during the depression. The result became Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, which was published in 1941. Yet, James still felt abandoned.
James continued to live an emotionally barren life. By the 1940s, he had began writing for The New Masses, a procommunist magazine. He was working on destroying his third marriage, and his incessant drinking and smoking was destroying his heart. In contrast, he also began writing one of the most respected tomes of his life - A Death in the Family.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lesley on 27 Jun. 2014
Format: Paperback
I read this book without reading the reviews and im so glad I did. I didnt know who was going to die so I was surprised at the outcome. I wish when people give reviews they dont give so much of the story away. Anyway, rant over. I found the book rather long winded. I found that as much as James was spot on with the childrens emotion and behaviour I did feel like he wrote 10 paragraphs when only 1 or 2 would have been sufficient. Would people have said this was a masterpiece if he hadnt died when the ink was stil warm? Who knows. All in all not a bad book but hard to stay awake for.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By reader 451 TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 24 July 2010
Format: Paperback
James Agee died in 1955, leaving A Death in the Family, barely finished, as his sole full-length novel. Agee was known for his poetry and non-fiction work, alongside movie reviews and screenplays. This was hailed as his masterpiece, and it obtained the Pulitzer Prize. But one wonders to what extent Agee's trajectory influenced the novel's reception.

A Death in the Family is one of these slow pieces where the action is in the impressions formed by the characters from a single event, in this case the death of a family member. Set in Knoxville, Tennessee, 1915, the novel does include a few moving scenes in between soft canvases of Southern life. But it is also filled with much dull and monotonous dialogue. It skids slowly in between high points. Indeed, the best chapters concern the children's reaction to their father's death, their incomplete understanding of what has happened, and their struggle with adult grief and embarrassment. But these chapters are a small part of the novel. The rest deals with the numerous and sometimes interchangeable members of the storyline's extensive family. The effect is uneven and, I found, not as stirring as the hype promises.
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