By Frederick Buechner
A protracted Day's demise is a mid-twentieth-century Jamesian novel that foreshadows a number of the issues 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 gorgeous widow and Bone's unrequited love curiosity, via a chain of encounters with family and friends, affairs actual and imagined, gossip, jealousy, and innuendo. We additionally meet Bone's servant Emma and his puppy monkey Simon; the novelist George Motley; the boastful and seductive educational Paul Steitler, Elizabeth's naïve son Lee, and her omniscient mom Maroo.
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Additional resources for A long day's dying
She glanced in his direction and saw him in profile bending down to observe the Latin motto carved at length about the edge of the table. It was as wrong for him, she thought, to have seen Tristram in the chapel as it was for him to have told her of it. 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.
Oh Tristram," he said. "Oh Tristram," she repeated. "In the palace there lived a king," he continued, "of great power and influence. Do you know the story~" "I don't know," answered Elizabeth. " "Xo. " "All right then. " "In that case I shall continue. This case, I beg your pardon, this king had two suitors, and the suitors were sisters actually though they only suspected each other's existence and had never met. In fact the king knew only one of them himself (or herself). No one was quite sure.
1 he had implied only so that she might sympathetically deny it. " she continued. "He got his hand free," l\Iotley answered. " "~ o," he said. Elizabeth was actually no more certain than :Motley concerning the nature of his story, but she was unwilling to question it further. Her reticence was almost virginal, as though she were confronted with a potential seducer, and there was in it a similar amount of curiosity. Nevertheless, she said nothing. The room in which they stood was bare except for a long table with benches on either side of it, and the daylight was sunless and gray there.