It wasn’t hell, but it was the waiting room

Word count: 254 words

Reading time: About 1 minute

I like to share interesting pieces of figurative language I encounter in my reading. Today I present a metaphor from novelist Jess Walter.

I first encountered the writing of Jess Walter thanks to a Valentine’s Day gift from my husband. (He knows enough to give me books rather than chocolate!) The book was Beautiful Ruins and so far  it’s been my second-most favourite novel of the year.

Recently, while I was in the library, I spotted another Jess Walter book. Quick as a hummingbird nabbing a tasty insect, I’d borrowed it — without having noticed it was a collection of short stories. Oh dear; I much prefer novels.

That said, I read Walter’s stories and enjoyed them, even though they were generally dark, hard-luck stories of defeated characters, mostly living in poverty. Still, it’s patently obvious that Jess Walter can really write. 

Here is a particularly funny metaphor from his zombie apocalypse story titled, “Don’t Eat Cat.”

This wasn’t a full zombie club, it catered more to nonbies and first-timers; no, it wasn’t hell, but it was the waiting room. 

I liked the humour in this metaphor, and in the story as a whole — even though the apocalypse genre doesn’t typically appeal to me. I particularly enjoyed the terms Walter employed for a credit card (he called it an iVice) and a bank (he called it Starbucks-Financial.) Very amusing.

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