The figurative language of Megha Majumdar

Reading time: Just over 1 minute

I like to share interesting pieces of figurative language I encounter in my reading. I write today about a series of metaphors and similes from Megha Majumdar…

When Megha Majumdar (pictured above) wrote her debut novel, she was working as an editor at Catapult Books in New York City.

I heard her interviewed on a book review podcast and her novel sounded so interesting, I went and bought a copy right away.

The book, A Burning, tells the story of young Muslim girl from the slums who witnesses a terrorist attack on a train stopped in a station. She posts to Facebook the next day, and draws the attention of police who arrest her on suspicion of committing the terrorist act herself.

But in addition to telling a sophisticated and compelling story, Majumdar also shared some expressive figurative language. Here are my favourite examples:

  • From my chair, I hear the wheeze of a ceiling fan above me, and the chatter of visitors entering the courtroom behind.
  • The physical-training teacher, in collared shirt and ironed pants, his mustache thick as a shoe-brush and his bald pate shiny, stands in the sun and shouts commands for the students to march in rhythm, arms raised in salute, feet landing sharply on the ground.
  • Her [leg] veins are crooked, like flooding rivers.
  • Every day I bear this dark corridor with its rustle of insects’ wings, the drip of a leak which conveys news of the rains, the plaster on the ceiling swelling like a cloud.
  • The next morning, Americandi gathers her thin towel, rough as a pumice stone, and a bottle of perfumed liquid soap she guards with her life.
  • In the evening, when my sisters are coming to my house wearing nice saris for their outing, mosquitoes the size of birds are flying in happily also.
  • My testimony was proving as useful as a shoe is to a snake.
  • The TV people are bring their own overhead light, making this small living room a land of a thousand suns.