The figurative language of Kurt Palka

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 Kurt Palka…

I had high hopes for the novel The Piano Maker by Kurt Palka (pictured above). By all appearances, it should have been a finely written literary novel. An elegant front cover. Thick, creamy paper. Glowing praise of the author on the back cover. Award nominations for previous books.

Sadly, however, I found the book thin and disappointing. The story of a young immigrant woman who came from a family of French piano builders and who arrived in Canada with a traumatic past, the book lacked believable dialogue and a credible plot. Although I mine all the books I read for figurative language, this novel lacked even that. I did find a sole simile, however, and it’s a good one:

“Where can I find Madame Bouchardon?” he said to no one in particular, and she turned and pointed at the wooden door across the yard. The man walked there, and before he knocked he took off his hat and held it strangely close to hs chest as though trapping a bird in it.

Can you not visualize the grasped hat and understand that someone official is reporting on the death of a family member? Too bad more of the book wasn’t similarly well written.