Like shards of glass…

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 simile from Cristina Henriquez…

I read The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez (pictured above) several months ago and both the novel and its characters have remained with me, in my mind’s eye, ever since.

The story of Mexican immigrants Arturo and Alma Rivera — and their injured 15-year old daughter, Maribel — the book focuses on what brings the characters to America and how their lives unfolded  since. In doing so, it also addresses the challenging stories of many “unknown Americans” — other Central and Latin American immigrants who live in the same building.

I found the tales so sad and the writing so beautiful. Here is one of the images — a simile — that moved me the most.

Of course, at the time I didn’t understand what she was saying. I only learned it later. That first day, the words were merely sounds in the air, broken like shards of glass, beautiful from a certain angle and jagged from another.

Comparing something to broken glass might be deemed by some as a fairly “obvious” simile. But I like the way Cristina Henriquez makes it richer and deeper by considering the various angles from which the glass might be observed. I also like her use of synesthesia — using something visual to compare to something aural. Rather sophisticated, I think.

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