The figurative language of Edward Carey…

Reading time: About 1 minute

I like to share interesting pieces of figurative language I encounter in my reading. I write today about images from Edward Carey…

If anyone recommends a book of historical fiction to me, I’ll take a close look and probably read it. This is what happened with Little — a fictionalized, and gripping retelling of the story of Marie Tussaud, the famous wax-sculptor — by Edward Corey.

In addition to being a novelist, Carey is also a playwright and an illustrator (and some of his line drawings grace the pages of Little.). Be sure to check out his website.

I also found him to have great facility with figurative language. Here are my favourite examples from Little:

  • Her skin grew shiny and yellow, like that of an onion.
  • Finally, the enormous slender hands of this strange man met before his narrow chest. I thought he might be about to pray but instead he began to clap. It was not a loud noise but an excited little beating, as of a small pleased child at the promise of something sweet to eat.
  • He had a very flat face with almost no profile at all, as if it had been grown facedown in a skillet.
  • Elisabeth, being the king’s sister, caused a parting in the sea of people, and Moses-like we pressed on, the waves of people crashing back behind us as soon as we passed.
  • He threw up his hands, the wingspan of a pelican.
  • We told each other our stories. Again and again. You always knew the true ones from the false ones, for the false ones changed at every telling. The true ones remained constant… They were our clothes.

Edward Carey is also married to Elizabeth McCracken, who’s an accomplished writer in her own right about whom I’ve written before.

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