Delia Owens’ figurative language….

Reading time: Just over 1 minute

I like to share interesting pieces of figurative language I encounter in my reading. I write today about a series of metaphors from Delia Owens….

I had heard many positive comments about Delia Owens’ first novel. As well, It had topped the The New York Times Fiction Best Sellers of 2019 for 20 non-consecutive weeks. But when I finally read Where the Crawdads Sing, I was disappointed by the plot.

The story is hackneyed and cliched and just not interesting enough. But the writing? Oh my goodness. It is the opposite of that. Owens, is the co-author of three internationally bestselling nonfiction books about her life as a wildlife scientist in Africa. She has won the John Burroughs Award for Nature Writing and has been published in NatureThe African Journal of Ecology, and many others.

What she doesn’t know about plotting, she surely understands about writing. Here are my favourite examples of her figurative language:

  • Swamp water is still and dark, having swallowed the light in its muddy throat.
  • They lived with Ma and Pa, squeezed together like penned rabbits, in the rough-cut shack, its screened porch staring big-eyed from under the oaks.
  • Tall for her age, bone skinny, she had deep-tanned skin and straight hair, black and thick as crow wings.
  • For more than two hundred years, sharp salty winds had weathered the cedar-shingled buildings to the color of rust, and the window frames, mostly painted white or blue, had flaked and cracked. Mostly, the village seemed tired of arguing with the elements, and simply sagged.
  • The surf taunted her, daring her to breach the waves and enter the sea, but without Jodie her courage failed. Time to turn around anyway. Thunderheads grew in the western sky, forming huge gray mushrooms pressing at the seams.
  • Barkley Cove served its religion hard-boiled and deep-fried.
  • Sand keeps secrets better than mud.
  • Drugged by despair and heat, she tossed in clothes and sheets damp from sweat her skin sticky. She sent her toes on missions to scout for cool spots between the sheets, but they found none.
  • One morning in early March, Kya eased alone through the sea toward the village, the sky in a frumpy sweater of gray clouds.