While the night sky pressed down…

Word count: 204 words

Reading time: Less than 1 minute

I like to share interesting pieces of figurative language I encounter in my reading. Today I present an image from novelist Linda Spaulding.

I’m not sure I fully understand the bubble-bath of praise in which Linda Spalding is reclining. Her book, The Purchase, won the 2012 Canadian Governor General’s award for fiction. It is also lauded on Amazon, albeit with only 10 reviews, but all of them awarding three stars or more.

For me, it was more of a two-star book. I thought Lawrence Hill’s 2007 novel, The Book of Negroes, covered similar material — the appalling treatment of slaves in the U.S. — far more skillfully and movingly.

But Amazon reviewers widely praised Spaulding’s “brilliant narration” and “rich prose.” Mostly, I disagree. Although I did find one image that captured me. Here it is:

She got up and opened the door, looking up at the sky, while the night pressed down, leaking its dark into their lives. 

Spaulding’s decision to personify the night — a time when slaves could escape via the Underground Railway — and her selection of the verbs “pressed down” and “leaking” impressed me enough to make a note of this compelling image.

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