The figurative language of Dwight Garner…

Reading time: About 1 minute

I like to share interesting pieces of figurative language I encounter in my reading. I write today about a series of similes  from Dwight Garner….

Dwight Garner is one of my favourite book reviewers in the New York Times. I especially enjoyed his recent take-down of Jared Kushner’s new book, Breaking History, which sounds particularly awful.

In case you’ve forgotten, Kushner served as a senior advisor to U.S. president Donald Trump, his father-in-law (Kushner is married to Trump’s daughter, Ivanka.) The son of former real-estate developer Charles Kushner — who was convicted of and incarcerated for fraud —  he took over management of his father’s real estate company Kushner Companies, which launched his business career.

In 2017, Kushner was named as a senior White House advisor, raising concerns about nepotism. He also he continued to engage in business, even profiting on policy proposals that he himself pushed for within the administration.

Dwight Garner has a very sharp pen for all of Kushner’s shenanigans and manages to fill his review with figurative language that is both apt and funny at the same time. Here are my favourite examples:

  • “Breaking History” is an earnest and soulless — Kushner looks like a mannequin, and he writes like one.
  • This book is like a tour of a once majestic 18th-century wooden house, now burned to its foundations, that focuses solely on, and rejoices in, what’s left amid the ashes.
  • Reading this book reminded me of watching a cat lick a dog’s eye goo.
  • The tone is college admissions essay.
  • Every political cliché gets a fresh shampooing.
  • Kushner, poignantly, repeatedly beats his own drum. He recalls every drop of praise he’s ever received; he brings these home and he leaves them on the doorstep. 
  • Once in the White House, Kushner became Little Jack Horner, placing a thumb in everyone else’s pie, and he wonders why he was disliked.
  • He wants to stay on top of things, this manager, but doesn’t want to get to the bottom of anything.
  • He’s a pair of dimples without a demographic.
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