My dad read quite a few books, but I only remember his reading two because these two had such a profound impact upon him. One was The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway. The other was A Death in the Family by James Agee. Published in 1957, two years after its author's death at the age of forty-five, A Death in the Family remains the only book of Appalachian Literature to have garnered a Pulitzer Prize, albeit posthumously. It is an autobiographical novel that starts with one of the most evocative passages in American literature: "Knoxville: Summer of 1915," as a short essay prelude. It is so powerful that it has been set to music.
New York: McDowell Oblensky, 1957. 339 pages. Hardback in dust jacket.