Creases, like folds in cream…

Reading time: About 1 minute

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

I’m not a superstitious person, except when it comes to reading. I was standing in a bookstore on Galiano Island last weekend and the novel Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi caught my eye. I read the first page, as is my habit, when evaluating novels, and I wanted to read more. Feeling profligate, on account of the holiday (I normally get my books from the library) I bought the novel.

Later that very same day, I was preparing dinner and listing to the CBC-radio show, “Writers and Company,” when who should the guest be but Helen Oyeyemi.  (Click here, if you want to listen to the interview yourself.) Could there be any firmer direction that I needed to read this book?

I’m only about halfway through the book now, so I can’t give you my final verdict. I can say, however, that Oyeyemi is a masterful stylist. She’s only 30 and already has five novels to her credit. As well, she apparently earned a more than $1 million advance on her second and third novels. She’s also on the Granta list of Best Of Young British Novelists. 

I made many notes on the lines I most admired in this novel, but here is my favourite simile (so far):

Agnes’s frailty aside, she and Olivia were pretty good examples of lasting beauty right down to the creases that ran around their foreheads and lips, some soft, like folds in cream, others deeply scored.

As someone who frequently whips cream for various birthday cakes and such, I know exactly what she means by “folds in cream.” The comparison to the texture of a person’s face, is quite apt, I think.


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