Set on the outskirts of a small Southern town, The Grass Harp tells the story of three endearing misfits—an orphaned boy and two whimsical old ladies—who one day take up residence in a tree house. As they pass sweet yet hazardous hours in a china tree, The Grass Harp manages to convey all the pleasures and responsibilities of freedom. But most of all it teaches us about the sacredness of love, “that love is a chain of love, as nature is a chain of life.” [Vintage]
In The Morning Watch, his only other published novel, the extraordinary power of language and the themes that so moved readers of A Death in the Family may already be seen. In prose of astonishing clarity and intensity, Agee captured the portrait of an appealing and very real boy – serious, pitiable, funny – at the moment of his initiation into a feared yet fascinating world.
At the Pearl Harbor army base in 1941, Robert E. Lee Prewitt is Uncle Sam’s finest bugler. A career soldier with no patience for army politics, Prewitt becomes incensed when a commander’s favorite wins the title of First Bugler. His indignation results in a transfer to an infantry unit whose commander is less interested in preparing for war than he is in boxing. But when Prewitt refuses to join the company team, the commander and his sergeant decide to make the bugler’s life hell.
From Here to Eternity was made into an Oscar-winning film starring Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, Donna Reed, and Frank Sinatra in 1953.
James Jones was also a Fiction Finalist in 1960 for The Pistol.