A long day's dying by Frederick Buechner

By Frederick Buechner

An extended Day's loss of life is a mid-twentieth-century Jamesian novel that foreshadows some of the issues in Mr. Buechner's later writing—faith, belief, and the advanced kinfolk of friends and family. the tale follows Tristram Bone, a rotund guy of wealth and "organized rest" yet a failure with girls, 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 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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She thought of Leander, her son, and realized that this was the first time she really looked forward to her imminent visit to him. She had not seen him for several months, and though this fact had not heretofore troubled her or him either, if his occasional letters were just evidence, she nevertheless discovered in herself now what she was pleased to imagine a long-standing desire to perform this possibly neglected division of her maternal duty. Thus having found more of a purpose than simply to please herself and, incidentally, 1\Iotley, she looked forward with increased enthusiasm to the trip and, as a matter of fact, to more even than that.

From the street there came more noise, only one child now, the monotonous, ancestral song of children, sing-song, wordless, without emotion, a kind of lullaby. With her eyes closed she forced a vision of the singer-a little girl, it appeared, crouched on the sidewalk beneath the awning that stretched from the door of the building to the street, playing with something. The doorman kept bending over and patting her on her backside, but she paid no attention and continued to sing. It was a clear, sunny day, more of summer than of spring.

She tried first to ignore them, or to hear them as a rhythm only, and thus to incorporate them into the sleep that she wished to reenter, but in spite of herself, though her bedroom was on the second floor of her small gray house squeezed between two large apartment buildings, she heard the words themselves and was obliged to listen. " said one. "Shut up yourself," said another. " There was a scampering noise on the pavement and the sound of something being dragged along without wheels. "Stop it, stop it, stop it.

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