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A Death in the Family
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Group Reads: Pre-1980 > A Death in the Family: Final thoughts, August 2014

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message 1: by Lawyer, "Moderator Emeritus" (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 2699 comments Mod
Here's the spot to wrap up your thoughts and reactions on Agee's "A Death in the Family."


Larry Bassett | 0 comments I think this book has a five star ending (Chapters 17 - 20) but only manages, for me, to be a three star book. My review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 3: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Weil | 168 comments Your review was excellent. I've closed the book for a while because--as your review suggested--I too felt that too many words were getting in the way of the meaning I hoped to find. But now--I'll make a confession--I'll be sure to read chapters 17 through 20!


Larry Bassett | 0 comments Patricia wrote: "I'll be sure to read chapters 17 through 20!"

Thanks, Patricia! I would probably cut even those four chapters in places, but you will get a good view of the trees without so much forest.

And the book sure has some wonderful paragraphs that might wind up on the cutting room floor. I don't know what to do about that. Maybe Agee and Wolfe are just writers that require that you already know the story and then just randomly open the book and read a page or two for the glory/magic of it!


message 5: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Weil | 168 comments Ah. Well put: "Maybe Agee and Wolfe are just writers that require that you already know the story and then just randomly open the book and read a page or two for the glory/magic of it!" When I really love the writing in a book, I will often skip (oh ugly crime) to the end and get my scope on the plot, just so I can go back and fully get the goodie out of the writing.


Larry Bassett | 0 comments Patricia wrote: "I will often skip (oh ugly crime) to the end and get my scope on the plot."

My version of that technique is to read reviews from others to try to get the lay of the land. The corollary to that is that I usually like spoilers.


Connie G (connie_g) | 418 comments I enjoyed Agee's beautiful writing, although I can see Larry's point that it could be shortened in some areas. I wrote a review last week:
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 8: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Weil | 168 comments Connie wrote: "I enjoyed Agee's beautiful writing, although I can see Larry's point that it could be shortened in some areas. I wrote a review last week:
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show......"


Another fine review. And thank you, Connie, for incidentally reminding me that I want to reread The Morning Watch.


Connie G (connie_g) | 418 comments Thanks for reading my review, Patricia.

I was reminded this week of how many years Agee worked reviewing films. Lauren Bacall died this week, and newspaper articles about her went back to quote from the film reviews from the 1940s by Agee. Wow, he was an impressive writer.


message 10: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Weil | 168 comments I think he was one of the best and finest! There's not too much I love more than Let Us Now Praise Famous Men--though even as a twenty-something, there was a section or two that I skipped. Don't know if you've been following the discussion prompted by reading Look Homeward, Angel, in which a number of us discovered a real discrepancy between our responses to Wolfe when we much younger and at present. Re Famous Men, I read it more now like free verse poetry.


message 11: by Connie (last edited Aug 17, 2014 05:05PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Connie G (connie_g) | 418 comments Patricia wrote: "I think he was one of the best and finest! There's not too much I love more than Let Us Now Praise Famous Men--though even as a twenty-something, there was a section or two that I skipped. Don't ..."

I find I have more patience and appreciation for the classics now than when I was in high school or college. But I also have more life experiences behind me, as well as much more free time to read. I haven't read Let Us Now Praise Famous Men.


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