The figurative language of Barbara Gowdy

Reading time: Less than 1 minute

I like to share interesting pieces of figurative language I encounter in my reading. I write today about two similes and a metaphor from novelist Barbara Gowdy…

I had heard the name of Canadian novelist and short story writer Barbara Gowdy for many years. But I’d never managed to read any of her much-lauded books. Recently, however, my husband brought home from the library her latest novel, Little Sisterand I leapt on it as soon as he’d finished.

Even though I really disliked the ending (in Gowdy’s defence, I feel that way about many books), I found it a pretty good story about a woman who inhabits the body of a stranger from time to time. (It’s not a horror book — more of a literary novel with mild aspects of a psychological whodunnit.)

I especially liked her figurative language. Here are three examples:

  • A gust of rain like thrown gravel hit a window in which the bulb from a bedside lamp was reflected.
  • The cigarette-smoking checkout woman, whose neck had the fine wrinkles of a breeze across a pond and whose stomach took the punch of the cash-register drawer, raved about Ava’s hair.
  • She watched the clouds. They were like fast-forward movie clouds, rolling and blue-grey.
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