Likely Stories : The End of the Day, by Bill Clegg

Aug 26, 2021

I’m Jim McKeown, welcome to Likely Stories, a weekly review of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.

If you enjoy twisty plots, building and breaking, secrets, love and forgiveness, Bill Clegg’s emotional novel, The End of the Day is captivating. 

  

Dana.  Clegg wrote, “The day was July third, 1969, a Thursday, one of the only dates Dana remembers.  Not because she’d left the bank that morning without telling her father, or even because she’d spent the first money from her trust on a ridiculously expensive taxi ride.  She remembers the date because it’s the one that marked the last day of what she would imprecisely call her youth” (6-7). 

Jackie.  “Eyes closed, cheek pressed into the foam pillow she’s slept on for decades, Jackie curls onto her side toward the middle of the mattress.  She rubs her feet together, circles the pillow with both arms, and burrows deeper into the familiar softness.  The lingering fragrance of dryer sheets tugs her gently back across the gap between awake and asleep, where ghost sounds of crowded mornings fill her ears—cabinet doors slamming shut, young voices tangling from the kitchen, a chair squeaking along the linoleum floor” (8). 

Lupita.  “Not a word in all these years, and now so many.  I found your number in a photograph, it was on the side of your van.  I’m sorry, I know that sounds strange.  I…thought can you please call me.  It’s important.  She’d never heard the sounds of her first coos and mangled words, and now, in her ear, complete sentences, hurried and adult. […] But Lupita knows” (13).

Hap.  “His father sings in his sleep.  Mostly jingles from the forties—Brylcreem, Schlitz beer, Camel Cigarettes.  How mild, how mild, how mild can a cigarette be?  His voice is radio smooth, soothing, at least two octaves higher than his regular speaking voice,and sounds young, despite his seventy-nine years.  In between the jingles, the same old Bing Crosby song, ‘Swinging on a star.’  Carry moonbeams home in a jar” (81).

Alice.  “She’d forgotten about babies.  Not since her twenties, when Hap was an infant, had she experienced the immediate and finely tuned connection between a brand-new life and its mother” (86).

Floyd.  “He’d left the diapers and the jug of iced tea in the backseat.  Jackie didn’t seem to mind staying behind while he walked back to the car.  Amy was asleep beside her on the blanket they’d spread out at the far end of the second field at Hatch Pond where they could see the fireworks” (193).

This intriguing story by Bill Clegg, The End of the Day, is one I found to be absorbing and hard to put aside.  5 Stars!

Likely Stories is a production of KWBU.  I’m Jim McKeown.  Join me again next time for Likely Stories, and happy reading!