Printed with a comma of blood…

Reading time: Less than 1 minute

I like to share interesting pieces of figurative language I encounter in my reading. I write today about several striking metaphors from novelist Ayelet Waldman…

I read Ayelet Waldman’s affecting 2014 novel, Love and Treasure, last fall. It told the story of the Hungarian Gold Train, which carried valuables stolen from Hungarian Jews by the Germans and travelled towards Berlin in 1945.

Waldman’s story is rich in history — and emotion. I liked the way it wove back and forth through time — capturing both the horror of the aftermath of the Second World War and the puzzle of how to make reparations in the current day. I enjoy Waldman’s writing and I particularly liked this robust, multi-layered sentence:

The pugnacious chin he aimed at the coach’s windows had a bit of Kleenex clinging to it, printed with a comma of blood, and his starched and ironed shirt gaped at the collar, revealing pleats in the drapery of his neck and a thick white thatch of fur on his chest.

How clever to describe a “comma” of blood and how evocative to compare an older man’s neck to a piece of drapery. Ayelet Waldman has a fine eye and a natural writer’s instinct for unusual comparisons…

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