The figurative language of Lauren Groff

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 metaphors from Lauren Groff…

Lauren Groff (pictured above) is a New York-born novelist who now lives in Gainesville, Florida. Her most recent book, Fates and Furies  won the 2015 American Booksellers’ Association Indies’ Choice Award for Fiction, a New York Times Notable book and Amazon’s #1 book of 2015. It also appeared on more than two dozen “best-of” lists in 2015.

I read the book this summer and while I didn’t like some of the writing (I thought her ear for dialogue was particularly off), I found her figurative language to be spectacularly evocative. Here are some of my favourite examples from the book:

  • The wind was rising again, live oaks conducting the storm with mossy arms.
  • The preacher’s wife wore permanent eyeliner, her hair in elaborate cathedrals that Antoinette copied.
  • The dean’s eyebrows were caterpillars that chew down apple trees overnight.
  • The place smelled of her, talcum and roses. Dust a soft gray skin over the chintz and Lladro. Also mildew, the sea’s armpit stink.
  • Over the mangroves, over the manatees, over the clams in their beds, one by one closing their hard little lips like a choir at the end of a song.
  • In sleep her eyelids were so translucent that he always thought if he looked hard, he could see her dreams pulsing like jellyfish across her brain.
  • The clouds like blackberry jam in the sky, faint double-boiler thunder from the north.
  • That day the light had fallen from the sky as if through green blown glass.
  • The man swallowed praise the way runners swallow electrolytes.
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