Skip to main content

The Stone World

About the Book

The Stone World

From the son of acclaimed author James Agee, a haunting novel depicting an American boy’s childhood in Mexico, ensconced in a world comprised of communist European exiles, local union activists, street children and avant-garde artists like Frida Kahlo.

Joel Agee’s hallucinatory first novel begins in a house with a large garden in an unnamed Mexican town in the late 1940s, where six-and-a-half-year-old Peter reads, dreams and plays with his friends. He is a nascent explorer, artist, philosopher, mystic and scientist. His world is still new, not yet papered over with received knowledge. 

And the actual world around him is a unique one in history: a community of leftist emigrés who have found refuge in Mexico from the Nazi and fascist regimes of Europe, rubbing shoulders with Mexican labor activists and leftists such as Frida Kahlo.

But the emigrés long for home --- including Peter’s stepfather, who wants to return to his native Germany. Going back to Europe may not be safe for any of them yet, however, which gives rise to anguished arguments among Peter’s parents and their tight group of friends.

And slowly, Peter begins to comprehend that his world may be turned upside down --- that he might be forced to take leave of everyone he knows: his best friend, Arón; his father’s friend Sándor, who talks about revolution and performs magic tricks; and Zita, the family’s live-in-maid, who has taught him the consoling mysteries of prayer.

Steeped in the magic and myths of childhood --- yet haunted by a harsh adult world bedeviled by instability and political turmoil --- Joel Agee’s THE STONE WORLD is an unforgettable portrait of a family that will inevitably invite comparison with another classic family story, that of his father James Agee’s A DEATH IN HER FAMILY.

The Stone World
by Joel Agee

  • Publication Date: February 22, 2022
  • Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Melville House
  • ISBN-10: 1612199542
  • ISBN-13: 9781612199542