The figurative language of Celeste Ng

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 metaphor and a simile from Celeste Ng…

I don’t typically read mysteries or thrillers but I’m always willing to make exceptions when something literary crosses my desk.

My husband recently passed along one such book to me — Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng. The story of a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio, this novel addresses the death of a favourite daughter and explores divisions between cultures and rifts between family members.

Ng’s writing is exquisite and she’s won a truckload of awards for this debut novel. In addition to being a New York Times bestseller, it was also Amazon’s #1 best book of 2014 and winner of the Massachusetts Book Award, the Alex Award and the Medici Book Club prize.

Here are two of the images Ng used that spoke to me most acutely:

She thought with sharp and painful pity of her mother, who had planned on a golden, vanilla-scented life but ended up alone, trapped like a fly in this small and sad empty house, the small and sad empty life, her daughter gone.

She snapped off her own lights and leaned back against the headrest. How good the rain would feel, like crying all over her body.

Celeste Ng is a young writer but based on the skill she displays with this luminous first novel, I predict she will go on to a stellar career.

Scroll to Top