More figurative language from Casey Cep

Reading time: Less than 1 minute

I like to share interesting pieces of figurative language I encounter in my reading. I write today about a series of similes and metaphors from Casey Cep….

I was introduced to writer Casey Cep (pictured above) when I read her New Yorker article headlined, “We can’t afford to lose the Postal Service.

This, in turn, led me to her recent book, Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee. What a marvellous tale! A tripartite effort, the book delves into (1) a voodoo preacher who was also a serial killer, (2) a couple of high profile lawyers both named Tom, and (3) the famous writer Harper Lee and her good friend Truman Capote.

Cep is a very fine writer who — in addition to her considerable story-telling chops — also displays great grace with figurative language. Here are my favourite examples:

  • Otherwise, it was so quiet in that part of Alabama that you could hear birdsong all morning and bullfrogs all night.
  • The men were packed into barracks so tightly that they called their quarters chicken coops; respiratory infections spread like rumors of deployment.
  • His brown eyes were always watchful, his face handsome and lean; a narrow mustache sat like an officer’s chevron above his lips.
  • His speech was elegant, almost formal, and the charm most young men could spare only for their steadies he offered to everyone he met, leaving “sirs” and “ma’ams” like fingerprints wherever he went.
  • The houses around it caught fire one after another, like a row of matches in a book.
  • To everyone involved, it must have felt like they were fighting over the relative size of the lice that lived on the elephant in the room.