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By Frederick Buechner

A protracted Day's demise is a mid-twentieth-century Jamesian novel that foreshadows a number of the topics in Mr. Buechner's later writing—faith, belief, and the advanced family members 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 gorgeous 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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Sample text

This was sad, but it was also not sad. It was a curious smile she gave to the desk clerk who suggested to her that the terrace behind the inn was ideal for cocktails at this time of day and of year and agreed to tell her son, when he came, that she would join him there. The window of her room looked down upon the terrace in question, littered with round green tables each pierced by a vivid umbrella and already more than half filled with people, young for the most part, undergraduates in gray flannel and seersucker and their young ladies with hair shiny from much brushing and clad in dresses cooler than the season seemed to require.

Elizabeth was actually no more certain than :Motley concerning the nature of his story, but she was unwilling to question it further. Her reticence was almost virginal, as though she were confronted with a potential seducer, and there was in it a similar amount of curiosity. Nevertheless, she said nothing. The room in which they stood was bare except for a long table with benches on either side of it, and the daylight was sunless and gray there. Elizabeth saw it as coolly barren and harsh as a headache and wished herself away.

He reached out to take hold of her, but she slipped away and caught sight of the three who watched her. "Three cheers," she said, and laughed again. Leander was the first to turn away, and in a moment she reached their table and leaned upon it, brushing the hair from her eyes and looking slowly at each of them. When she reached Steitler, she stopped. "Hi," he said. "Hi . . "The boy whom she had kissed called to her, but she did not hear him. "What can we do you for~" Steitler looked at Elizabeth as he spoke.

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