Ice came down like poisoned darts…

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 series of similes and metaphors from novelist Joshua Ferris…

I’m a relatively fast reader but it took me more than two months to get through the novel The Unnamed by Joshua Ferris. (I always read more than one book at a time which is partly what slows me down.)

I feel the same way about The Unnamed as I did about Ferris’s previous novel, To Rise Again at a Decent Hour. Both had brilliant writing but boring plotting.

In honour of Ferris’s truly sophisticated use of figurative language, however, is a list of the similes and metaphors I most appreciated from The Unnamed.

  • Ice came down like poisoned darts.
  • Becka had eight or ten thick dreadlocked strands. They moved about her head the way mitter curtains dance lazily over the car at an automatic car wash, heavy and grayish.
  • He was quiet in the dark. A peeling, flat moon cast some light through the bedroom’s open windows, just enough to make their breath visible.
  • Overcast was riveted to the sky as gray to a battleship.
  • Today he was wearing a pink buttondown with white collar and cuffs, silver cuff links winking from the armrests of the wing chair, and a long paisley tie draped down his shirtfront like a silky tongue.
  • A carload of teenagers passed by honking as if he [the main character] were a night at the prom.

All of these images are so compelling  that I don’t know I can even pick a favourite. Although I do have a certain fondness for the one comparing dreadlocks to mitter curtains in a car wash….