By Frederick Buechner
A protracted Day's death is a mid-twentieth-century Jamesian novel that foreshadows a number of the subject matters in Mr. Buechner's later writing—faith, belief, and the advanced relatives of friends and family. the tale follows Tristram Bone, a rotund guy of wealth and "organized rest" yet a failure with ladies, and Elizabeth bad, a wealthy, fascinating, and lovely widow and Bone's unrequited love curiosity, via a sequence 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 conceited and seductive educational Paul Steitler, Elizabeth's naïve son Lee, and her omniscient mom Maroo.
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There are those," he said, "there are perhaps three or four," he said, "who would question my authority in affairs of that sort, but in some manner I am qualified. I think that it is possible to gather instruction as you go from matters of an entirely different nature, to understand some part at least of love though you have never . . " She glanced over at his face, only half concealed from her by the lamp between them. It looked like a Roman bust of the decadence of that empire, ponderous, sightless with eyes closed, and placid as a cloud or an entire bank of cushioned clouds on a day without wind.
From where she stood she was unable to discover exactly what they were 28 A Long Day's Dying and had to stare at them for some time before they identified themselves. Then, to her surprise, they seemed to move, or at least some part of them did, and there was a scurrying noise from their direction. She was not frightened, but stood quite still waiting to see what was to happen. Again there came a scuttling noise, something bobbed up for an instant over the back of the first tier of seats, disappeared and then appeared again.
His lipless mouth widened to show his teeth, and he bounced lightly up and down on the chair, clenching his fist so that nothing could fall from it. When he was still again, he lifted the cockroach up and bit it experimentally, held it close to the light, and then bit it again. " shouted Emma, who left her position by the door and came rushing towards the monkey. Before she was able to reach him, Simon leaped from the chair, scampered across the carpet, and sprang to the writing table, scattering a folder of letters that lay there.
A long day's dying by Frederick Buechner