The figurative language of Michael Crummy

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 similes and metaphors from Michael Crummy….

Michael Crummy was born in Buchans, a mining town in the interior of Newfoundland — “as far from the salt water as you can get and still be in Newfoundland.”

I had heard favourable reviews of his work over the years and, couldn’t remember the name of the book most commonly  recommended. It was River Thieves but I ended up reading  The Wreckage. Although I didn’t find the plot appealing — it was the story of a young Catholic-Protestant couple in 1940s Newfoundland — I found his writing to be superb, filled with beautiful imagery and figurative language.

Here are examples of what appealed to me the most:

  • Soldiers lost their footing on exposed roots, on the slick ground, and they collapsed under their packs like marionettes cut free of strings.
  • Her eyes were pale blue and discoloured with tiny flecks of darkness, as if old paint had flicked away from them.
  • He smiled across at Wish, his teeth the colour of dried peat.
  • Not a whisper of wind, as if the Cove was holding its breath for her. A sliver of moon on its back overhead, one star hung beneath it like a hook drifting on a line.
  • Her top teeth leaned in one direction like trees bowed by a prevailing wind.
  • It was hard for them both to watch the life bleed out of Anstey like air seeping from a balloon.
  • The candystriper’s cheerfulness was so overwhelming it made Mercedes feel tired, as if she’d spent too much time in full sun.

Crummy is also known for his poetry, which I’ve not read, but I’m going to put his collection of poems, Salvage, near the top of my list if only because Salvage is also the name of a Newfoundland town I particularly enjoyed when we spent our summer holiday there last month.

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