Books: Tender Realist

A DEATH IN THE FAMILY (339 pp.) —James Agee—McDowell, Obolensky ($3.95).

This posthumous novel draws an elegiac picture of an American scene that vanished scarcely a generation ago but already seems as remote as Eden. The story opens in Knoxville. Tenn. as the city dreams through a summer evening filled with the cry of locusts, an evening as calm as the shirtsleeved men watering their lawns in the gentle half-light. A streetcar makes its metallic groan on a curve and disappears trailing sparks like blue fireflies; chanting children play in the circling glow...

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