The figurative language of Anthony Lane…

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I like to share interesting pieces of figurative language I encounter in my reading. I write today about a series of spectacular metaphors from British journalist Anthony Lane….

Anthony Lane is a British journalist, who is currently a film critic for The New Yorker magazine. After all the recent “news” about the royal family — the Queen’s Covid, Andrew’s scandal, Charles already planning his investiture —  I found reviewing Lane’s comments on the 2018 wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to provide a welcome note of humour.

Lane writes gracefully with rich figurative language, and he’s hysterically funny, too. Here were my favourite examples:

  • The heavens above were of an unfamiliar blue. Ever since Elizabeth II was crowned under soaking skies, the pact between good news and bad weather has been a matter of national pride, yet here we were, suffused with warmth—an event so rare that it was greeted by Amal Clooney in a dress of liquefied sunshine.
  • So contagious were “the atmospherics,” as one member of the palace staff described them, that even Victoria Beckham was affected. She didn’t actually smile, but there were several moments when it looked as if she might.
  • The Queen, for instance, is widely deemed to be immortal—constitutionally forbidden to die, one might say, in the minds of her more loyal subjects—and she continues to be driven around in vast and silent cars. Having stationed myself a few yards from her Bentley as it stole past, I can report that it makes slightly less noise than a Burmese cat lying down on a bed of cashmere.
  • So overpowering was this [the scent of flowers in St. George’s Chapel] that, to be frank, I wasn’t sure whether I should be taking notes or gathering pollen. If the guests had stayed in their pews for long enough, they would have ended up producing their own honey.
  • And so to the sermon [by Bishop Curry]. Or the address, or maybe the homily, or, as I prefer to think of it, the aria.
  • Even now, I can’t quite decipher the expression on the face of the Queen, who is hard to decrypt at the best of times. All I will say is that it was identical to the expression on the face of Elton John. God save them both.

An earlier version of this post first appeared on my blog on May 31/18.

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