By Frederick Buechner
An extended Day's loss of life is a mid-twentieth-century Jamesian novel that foreshadows the various topics in Mr. Buechner's later writing—faith, belief, and the complicated kinfolk of friends and family. the tale follows Tristram Bone, a rotund guy of wealth and "organized relaxation" yet a failure with ladies, and Elizabeth terrible, a wealthy, fascinating, and gorgeous widow and Bone's unrequited love curiosity, via a sequence 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 boastful and seductive educational Paul Steitler, Elizabeth's naïve son Lee, and her omniscient mom Maroo.
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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. "Yes," she said, "yes, that would be lovely. I can do it. " "Oh but I never get up much before noon or a little before, and that wouldn't give me time . . :\Jolley could afford to make these minor concessions. "Then "hy don't we simply plan to meet after the lecture and J can takt> an earlier train~" 36 A Long Day's Dying "That's fine," she replied.
He heard her heels click on the floor in the hall, then stop suddenly. " she cried. " He heard the door open and shut behind her. "Good night," he said once more. Uncomfortable as his position must have been, it was not long before he fell asleep, the one lamp still burning between the chairs they had occupied. A light wind started outside and came through the open windows in short gusts, rattling the venetian blinds. The noise worked itself slowly into his dreams and became a great bird's wing there until, as the wind grew gentler, passing si-lently through the blinds and only rustling the curtains, it became instead the puzzled whisper of a girl.
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. Nor has it, she thought. Motley, however, spoke first. "How about going down to see Lee tomorrow~" he said. At the sound of her son's name she raised her eyebrows in surprise. "Whatever made you think of that~" "'Veil~" he answered, "I'm scheduled to give a lecture there tomorrow evening and it just occurred to me how nice it would be if we could go together.