The figurative language of Jon McGregor…

Reading time: Less than 1 minute

I like to share interesting pieces of figurative language I encounter in my reading. I write today about simile and personification from Jon McGregor…

British novelist and short story writer, Jon McGregor (pictured above) had his first novel If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things longlisted for the Booker Prize in 2002, making him the youngest ever contender at the age of 26.

His third novel, Even The Dogs, won the International Dublin Literary Award in 2012. And I write today about his fourth novel, Reservoir 13. I can no longer recall why I picked it up as the book is ostensibly a murder mystery, a genre I don’t typically read.

But here’s the surprising thing: the book isn’t so much a murder mystery as it is an examination of the natural world after a tragedy. And McGregor is an astonishingly graceful writer with a particular ear for personification, as you can see from the examples below:

  • The bees stumbled fatly between the flowers and the slugs gorged.
  • In November Austin Cooper and his wife came home with twins, and carried them up the steps to their flat above the converted stables. When he turned to close the door he stood on the threshold for a moment, looking down at the street, as if expecting or perhaps even hearing applause.
  • By noon the sun was out and the drains were gulping meltwater from the road.