James Agee was an American author and a very influential film critic. He is known for an autobiographical novel, A Death in the Family (1957), for which he was posthumously awarded the 1958 Pulitzer Prize. He had begun writing A Death in the Family but the novel itself was published posthumously in 1957 by McDowell, Obolensky. Not only did it earn him a Pulitzer Prize but it is also ranked among the most insightful American realist novels written in the last century.
The novel is set in 1915. At this time, his father had to leave town to visit his father, whose condition had been debilitated by a heart attack. While he was coming back, he got in a car accident and was killed. The novel deals with the idea of struggle and loss and creates an intricate potrait of a family struggling to survive in the face of adversity.