Her laugh a lighthouse, proudly proclaiming its rocky reach

Word count: 182 words

Reading time: Less than 1 minute

I read widely, watch movies and listen to the radio. In today’s post you’ll see an interesting piece of figurative language I’ve encountered recently.  

David Gilbert is a short story writer who lives in New York City. He’s author of the book The Normals, which I haven’t read although I’ve noticed it’s received a couple of  extraordinarily negative reviews on Amazon. (The criticism “overwritten” has more or less warned me off the book.)

That said, David Gilbert can clearly write. I very much enjoyed his short story, “Member/Guest” in the Nov. 12 New Yorker. He has an appraising eye for metaphor and I especially liked his colourful description of the main character’s mother. Here’s what he said:

Her mother’s voice was devoid of volume control, her laugh a lighthouse proudly proclaiming its rocky reach.

Somehow the image of a mother’s voice as an electronic instrument (designed for torture, perhaps?) and the triple alliteration — a literary hat-trick with: laugh a lighthouse, proudly proclaiming and rocky reach — made this sentence delight me.

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