Forty years after its original publication, James Agee's last novel
seems, more than ever, an American classic. For in his lyrical,
sorrowful account of a man's death and its impact on his family, Agee
painstakingly created a small world of domestic happiness and then
showed how quickly and casually it could be destroyed.
On a sultry summer night in 1915, Jay Follet leaves his house in
Knoxville, Tennessee, to tend to his father, whom he believes is dying.
The summons turns out to be a false alarm, but on his way back to his
family, Jay has a car accident and is killed instantly. Dancing back
and forth in time and braiding the viewpoints of Jay's wife, brother,
and young son, Rufus, Agee creates an overwhelmingly powerful novel of
innocence, tenderness, and loss that should be read aloud for the sheer
music of its prose.