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By Frederick Buechner

A protracted Day's loss of life is a mid-twentieth-century Jamesian novel that foreshadows a few of the issues in Mr. Buechner's later writing—faith, belief, and the advanced family of friends and family. the tale follows Tristram Bone, a rotund guy of wealth and "organized relaxation" 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 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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Where else can you find such happiness~" He smiled at her. " "But you'll forgive them that, I hope~" "I suppose," said Elizabeth. " "How do you mean~" "Oh, my job and so ou. It makes mea kind of professional corrupter of the young-. " The boy suggested that they drink to this profession, and the young iustructor was pressed to go further. " 60 A Long Day's Dying "Life," echoed Lee sonorously to a boy who had stopped near them for an instant before passing on. " Elizabeth questioned Steitler with mock dismay.

Then, slowly, he opened his hand to reveal upon hi~ palm the half-crushed insect, the black mystery of its underportions exposed to the light, its multitude of legs A Long Day's Dying 43 vibrating faintly. Simon withdrew his glance and looked around his shoulder as if from behind a rock. I I is moist, introspective eyes gave no evidence of seeing Emma by the door, nor did they look exclusi,-ely in that direction, but once around the room, a bland stare, and then back to his hand. 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.

It was a slow process though the victim seemed to struggle only halfheartedly, but they worked their stupid, rubbery mouths so wildly that at last they managed to sever its head from its body. ·· Bone let his hand fall off the arm of the chair so that his fingers touched the floor, and opened his eyes. "Soon, mercifully, I became aware of A Long Day's Dying 49 the pane of glass that kept us safe from one another, and then I leaned my head against it. " Elizabeth continued to look at him-a priest he seemed for a moment, or a saint.

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A long day's dying by Frederick Buechner

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