By Frederick Buechner
An extended Day's demise 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 complicated kin 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, captivating, 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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Bone spoke of him as a secret, and as if the secret were that there was another secret which concerned yet another and so on, and so forth, like mirrors reflecting each other into obscure infinity. Only the king, through a variety of metaphor, emerged as an actuality. "She was," he said, "a wall against which, or against whom, others knocked their heads, not in anticipation of the pleasure that would result when the knocking had ceased, mind you, but because of the glory of the . . " Elizabeth held the letter near the lamp and started to read from it.
As they were leaving the chapel she whispered. " He stopped walking. "Really, Elizabeth, I can see you've been drinking again. And after all the promises to Aunt Oyster A Long Day's Dying 29 after all my entreaties . . " His voice sounded as if it would break with grief. Then, sharply, "What choir stall? Who was crawling about~ Now think! Think! " He clutched her by the shoulders. "This is a monastery, you know. Stop that insane laughter. " He pretended now to be frantic, and his voice grew wilder and more highly pitched.
A colored maid entered and with her the smell of cofl'ee. "It's just noon, l\Irs. Poor. " Elizabeth looked at her clock and nodded. The maid departed, and she sat up in bed, leaned back again upon her pillows, and stretched out lll'r arms as if in supplication. - 54 A Long Day's Dying cult to know which, and noticed that the child had stopped singing. The only sound now was that of the traffic passing by, the anticipatory noise of gears being shifted from one level of effort to another, an occasional horn.