A Death in the Family by James Agee
1957, 310 pp.
Jay Follett, a dutiful husband and father, travels to his parents' home because his father is dying. On his way back to his wife and children, he is killed in a car accident. The reaction to this tragedy by his family is told with heartbreaking prose. I was especially moved by the thoughts, feelings, and actions of his son, Rufus. This novel was largely autobiographical for Agee as his father died in a car accident when he was six years old. Sadly, Agee himself died of a heart attack at the age of 45, leaving behind young children of his own.
This novel profoundly touched me as my own father died of heart complications at the age of 44. The death of someone so young affects a family very deeply for many years. It is a tragedy I hope few people have to experience.