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 dying on the age of forty-five, A dying within the Family remains a near-perfect murals, an autobiographical novel that includes probably 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 additionally the family happiness and contentment of a tender relatives. a unique of serious braveness, lyric strength, and robust emotion, A dying within the Family is a masterpiece of yankee literature.
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Latticed in pawnshop iron, an old saber caught the glint of a street lamp, a mandolin’s belly glowed. In a closed drug store stood Venus de Milo, her golden body laced in elastic straps. The stained glass of the L&N Depot smoldered like an exhausted butterfly, and at the middle of the viaduct they paused to inhale the burst of smoke from a switch engine which passed under; Rufus, lifted, the cinders stinging his face, was grateful no longer to feel fear at this suspension over the tracks and the powerful locomotives.
It sealed their contract. Only once had his father felt it necessary to say to him, “I wouldn’t tell your mama, if I were you”; he had known, from then on, that he could trust Rufus; and Rufus had felt gratitude in this silent trust. They walked away from Market Square, along a dark and nearly empty street, sucking their Life Savers; and Rufus’ father reflected, without particular concern, that Life Savers were not quite life saver enough; he had better play very tired tonight, and turn away the minute they got in bed.
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.