May 16, 2010

A Death in the Family

James Agee, 1956
A family is
rocked by the sudden death of
their loving father

This book won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1958. Unfortunately, by this time, Agee was already dead. Slightly ironic, considering the title. At least, I'm pretty sure it's ironic. I'm hesitant to call things ironic nowadays for fear of being called out like people have continued to do to Alanis Morissette. Based on Agee's own father's death, the story takes its time getting to the actual event.

The family dynamic in this book was pretty intense at times, especially with the various religious or non-religious views of the different family members. Agee does many things well, but I think the thing he does the best is describe. I could smell and even taste almost everything he described, from food to a grandparent. Some descriptions reminded me of the smell of a crowded bus in a foreign country. Woof. (PG-13)

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