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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 demise within the Family remains a near-perfect murals, an autobiographical novel that includes essentially 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 motor vehicle accident—a tragedy that destroys not just a lifestyles, but in addition the family happiness and contentment of a tender kin. a singular of serious braveness, lyric strength, and robust emotion, A loss of life within the Family is a masterpiece of yankee literature.

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Extra resources for A Death in the Family (Penguin Classics)

Sample text

Usually on these evening waits, or a few minutes before going on home, Rufus’ father smoked a cigarette through, and when it was finished, it was time to get up and go on home. But this time he did not smoke. Up to recently he had always said something about Rufus’ being tired, when they were still about a block away from the corner; but lately he had not done so and Rufus realized that his father stopped as much because he wanted to, as on Rufus’ account. He was just not in a hurry to get home, Rufus realized; and, far more important, it was clear that he liked to spend these few minutes with Rufus.

The phone rang again. He hurried out in the dark, barefooted, tiptoe, cursing under his breath. Hard as he tried to beat it, it rang again just as he got to it. He cut it off in the middle of its cry and listened with savage satisfaction to its death rattle. Then he put the receiver to his ear. ” he said, forbiddingly. ” It was Ralph. “Hello,” he said. ” “Ralph? Yeah. Hello. ” For there was something wrong with his voice. Drunk, I reckon, he thought. “Jay? Can you hear me all right? ” Crying too, sounds like.

She said, seeing the clock. “Oh, Mary. Get on back to bed. ” “Don’t be ridiculous,” she said, hurrying into her bathrobe. “Honest, it would be just as easy,” he said. He liked night lunchrooms, and had not been in one since Rufus was born. He was very faintly disappointed. But still more, he was warmed by the simplicity with which she got up for him, thoroughly awake. ” she said, knotting the bathrobe girdle. She got into her slippers and shuffled quickly to the door. ” He watched her disappear, wondering what in hell she meant by that, and was suddenly taken with a snort of silent amusement.

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