Poking like a rivet head

Reading time: Less than 1 minute

I like to share interesting pieces of figurative language I encounter in my reading. I write today about a simile from Forrest Gander.

Like an unexpected guest at a dinner party, the very brief novel, As a Friend, by Forrest Gander, is a surprising read. I don’t normally like books that are so terse and sketchy but this one has captured me.

Set in the rural Southern US, the book tells the story of Les, a land surveyor. I just finished the first section, focusing on the main character’s birth. (It’s odd that such a brief book would devote so much space — 11% of it, by my calculation — to his birth.) Still, perhaps because Gander is a poet, he paints striking visual pictures with his words.

Here is his description of Les’s mother giving birth:

Gasping, she rolls to her side, worn out and huge, her protuberant navel poking like a rivet head through the thin gown.

I love that simile. When I was pregnant I can recall my own protuberant navel — I would never have thought to liken it to a rivet head, yet the comparison is absolutely perfect.

You can learn more about Forrest Gander, here. Better yet, read his book.

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