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 similes and metaphors from Dwight Garner…

I’m a big fan of the American journalist and longtime book reviewer Dwight Garner. His work appears in the New York Times and he’s not only smart and articulate — he’s also very amusing. He is also the author of Read Me: A Century of Classic American Book Advertisements. I’ve already posted about his writing several times, here and here.

Recently, Dwight Garner reviewed Bob Dylan’s latest book, The Philosophy of Modern Song. Here are my favourite bits of figurative language from the hilariously funny review.

  • Part of me wanted this [book] to be a new record instead, wanted to hear these lines come croaking up from Dylan’s 81-year-old lungs and past his buckshot, barb-wired uvula.
  • Dylan slits open the underbelly of American life; he pokes at the entrails; he draws a lot out of these songs.
  • By the end he seems spent; he’s phoning some of the language in.
  • To struggle to be fair to Dylan, in the universe of this book, and in most of these songs, the men the narrators confront are no better — sugarless daddies, jacks mistaken for kings. Their personal pronouns are burnt matchheads.
  • “The Philosophy of Modern Song” is nearly the size of a coffee-table book. It’s been art-directed to its back teeth.
  • There should be two paperback options — one that resembles a small, flimsy prayer book, published without chic, that has no imagery at all, that looks like someone left it in the sun too long.
  • My first impulse was to make a playlist of the book’s songs, but it’s already done, several times over, on Spotify. It should be listened to outside, with speakers wired in trees.
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