The figurative language of Michael Redhill…

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 similes from Michael Redhill…

It was the promise of a doppelganger that led me to read Michael Redhill’s award-winning novel Bellevue Square. Described as a “darkly comic literary thriller about a woman who fears for her sanity,” the book sounded like a perfect holiday read. Some reviews mentioned a fantasy element to the book, which worried me a little — I have no taste for that genre — but I like the notion of doubles and I’d enjoyed a previous book by Redhill (pictured above), Martin Sloane.

Sadly, Bellevue Square disappointed me. As I feared, I found the fantasy angle distasteful. Still, I appreciated Redhill’s fine eye and ear for figurative language, especially simile. Here are my favourite examples:

  • He’s a late-middle-aged ex-academic or ex-accountant or someone who spent his life at a desk, who once might have been a real fireplug, like Mickey Rooney, but who, at sixty-plus years, looks like a hound in a sweater.
  • May was on its way, thank god. We were getting inoculations of sun.
  • The organic butcher beside a row of dry-goods shops offered, in one window, white-and-red animal skulls with bulbous dead eyes, and in the other, closely trimmed racks of lamb and venison filets, displayed overlapping each other like roofing tiles.
  • My nostrils felt like they were the size of quarters, and oxygen swamped my head and made me dizzy.
  • Nicholas walks as if his centre of gravity is two feet behind him, landing on his heels and rocking forward.
  • My teeth are off-white with the front ones atilt one way or another, like stones in an old graveyard.