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

By James Agee

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

Published in 1957, years after its author's demise on the age of forty-five, A loss of life within the Family remains a near-perfect murals, an autobiographical novel that includes some of 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 existence, but in addition the family happiness and contentment of a tender relatives. a unique of significant braveness, lyric strength, and robust emotion, A loss of life within the Family is a masterpiece of yankee literature.

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Sample text

Then he reflected: after all, why had he worn a clean shirt? He could hope to God not, all he liked, but the chances were this was going to be a very solemn occasion. I’d do it for a funeral, wouldn’t I? he reflected, annoyed at his laziness. He got out his razor and stropped it rapidly. Mary heard this lavish noise of leather, and with a small spasm of impatience shoved the eggs to the back of the stove. Ordinarily he took a good deal of time shaving, not because he enjoyed it (he loathed it) but because if it had to be done he wanted to do it well, and because he hated to cut himself.

The moistures of May drowned all save the most ardent stars, and gave back to the earth the sublimated light of the prostrate city. Deep in the end of the back yard, the blossoming peach tree shone like a celestial sentinel. The fecund air lavished upon their faces the tenderness of lovers’ adoring hands, the dissolving fragrance of the opened world, which slept against the sky. “What a heavenly night, Jay,” she said in the voice which was dearest to him. ” “I wish you could, dear,” he said, though his mind had not been on such a possibility; frankly, he had suddenly looked forward to the solitary drive.

Clean shirt, he thought. He unbuttoned the top buttons of his trousers and spread his knees, squatting slightly, to hold them up. Fool thing to do, he reflected. Do it every time. ) If I put on the shirt first, wouldn’t have to do that fool squat. ) Well (he braced his right shoulder) there’s habit for you (he braced his left shoulder and slightly squatted again, readjusting). He sat on the bed and reached for one shoe. Oh. Yup. He took his shoes, a tie, a collar and collar buttons, and started from the room.

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