Khayman Brunswick's Reviews > A Death in the Family

A Death in the Family by James Agee
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Jun 07, 2011

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Read in June, 2011

A Death in the Family by James Agee (Reviewed by Khayman Brunswick and Andrew Puente).

This book. . . It's strange. We can't define the audience. The objective seems to be an experience, the death of a loved one, which is universal, so the audience could be about anyone who can comprehend the reading. The novel is told through third person and multiple people. It takes place in Knoxville, Tennessee. The year is 1915, and Jay Follett has suffered a fatal car accident. Jay, being the protagonist, is conquered by our antagonist; Death. His family is left in the wake of this tragedy. His wife, Mary and daughter, Catherine sad but accepting. His son, Rufus, is having a hard time understanding. Easily enraged due to the traumatic event, his Uncle consoles him.

A common theme throughout the novel is the closeness of family. The author presents you with the situation, and until the end, he attempts to develop the characters, to make you care about them. It really plays into the fact that a family has lost their leader, and are going to struggle to gain closure. We felt that the author was trying to share a common experience, to show everyone that we'll run the same event and emotions in our own lives. It'll be worse before it gets better.


Everyone still on board? Great. Well, Jay DIES. Besides that. . . Nothing much else. No surprises or twists, just a saddened family.


We have not read a book like this before, so there is not much to compare it to. It was a little slow, so I'm not going to seek out others like it.

I would recommend this book to older people who might deal with this situation poorly. It does have a sort of "Feel Good" ending, and could easily give hope for the future.

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