By Frederick Buechner
A protracted Day's demise is a mid-twentieth-century Jamesian novel that foreshadows some of the subject matters in Mr. Buechner's later writing—faith, belief, and the advanced family members of friends and family. the tale follows Tristram Bone, a rotund guy of wealth and "organized rest" yet a failure with girls, and Elizabeth negative, a wealthy, fascinating, and lovely widow and Bone's unrequited love curiosity, via a chain of encounters with family and friends, affairs genuine and imagined, gossip, jealousy, and innuendo. We additionally meet Bone's servant Emma and his puppy monkey Simon; the novelist George Motley; the conceited and seductive educational Paul Steitler, Elizabeth's naïve son Lee, and her omniscient mom Maroo.
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Extra info for A long day's dying
Elizabeth held the letter near the lamp and started to read from it. "Gentlemen," she pronounced, "I am enclosing herewith a check for such use as was agreed upon when last we met. You will discover . . " "Elizabeth, it was the ,-\-ine," he said. "The wine we had with dinner, the wine we had before dinner, the wine we had after dinner, that makes me have to tell you a story now. It was also the manicurist this morning I think. And that indescribable monastery, where . . " "You will discover," continued Elizabeth, "that I have sent something more than the sum originally proposed, and I shall leave the disposition of the balance entirely within your hands with the one stipulation that you do not .
But it was a rather amusing story. She wondered now why she had not been more amused. And he looked so little there bending over the table, like a puppy that knows it has offended and goes away wistfully until recalled. She felt that her relationships, when colored by Tristram, became somehow complex, involved and, at last, difficult for her to understand or manipulate very successfully. It was bad enough to have it the case with Tristram himself, but now it was happening again with George. She deplored this and resolved to speak to him simply, as though nothing had happened at all.
Let me see . " l\Iotley maintained a vacant, noncommittal expression that would scarcely have deceived any observer more attentive than Elizabeth into imagining that it made no great difference to him whether or not she consented to accept his suggestion. Clearly enough, the difference it made was vast. He ran his fingers along the edge of the table. What had seemed his defeat, her unsuccessful reaction to his account of Bone in the chapel, could be altered completely now by her consent. He wanted to rush over and shake her by the shoulders until she answered affirmatively.