The figurative language of Emma Donoghue

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I like to share interesting pieces of figurative language I encounter in my reading. I write today about figurative language from novelist Emma Donoghue…

Born in Dublin, Emma Donoghue (pictured above) is an award-winning writer now living in Canada. Like thousands of other readers, I was impressed with her gripping novel Room, the story of a mother and her five-year-old son, who have been kept captive in an eleven-foot by eleven-foot space. Donoghue even adapted her story into a screenplay for a popular movie, nominated for four Academy Awards.

Her latest novelThe Wonder, is a fictional treatment of a true story about a young girl who “fasted” herself to ill health in 1850s Ireland. I found the story both engrossing and fascinating and extraordinarily well written. Here is a sampling of my favourite figurative language from it:

  • At the creak of the door, she looked up, and a smile split her face.
  • “Mr. O’Donnell,” said Lib, putting her hand into his leathery one.
  • The woman’s pebble eyes held hers.
  • Framed in the small pane behind her, the horizon was spilling liquid gold.
  • Rain was tapping the roof like the fingers of a blind man.
  • And with that, the nun sat down and opened her holy book like a barricade.
  • At midnight, the lamp was burning low on Anna’s dresser, and the child was a handful of dark hair across the pillow, her body hardly interrupting the pane of the blankets.
  • When the child woke, her heartbeat was like a violin string vibrating just under the skin.
  • It occurred to Lib that she was the only one in the world who knew for sure that this child meant to die. It was like a leaden cape on Lib’s shoulders.
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