The figurative language of Monica Ali…

Reading time: About 1 minute

I like to share interesting pieces of figurative language I encounter in my reading. I write today about similes and metaphors from novelist Monica Ali…

Monica Ali is a British writer of Bangladeshi and English heritage. In 2003, she was selected as one of the “Best of Young British Novelists” by Granta magazine and her debut novel, Brick Lane, was published later that year. It was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize

Interestingly, Ali apparently suffered a ‘loss of confidence’ (according to an interview in The Guardian) and her fifth and most recent work of fiction, Love Marriage: A Novel, appeared after a 10-year hiatus. It’s a marvellous book, telling the story of  a 26-year-old junior doctor, who is engaged to be married to fellow doctor. Writing in the Sunday Times critic David Sexton described the book as: “Enormously satisfying in its inventions and observations, and its exploration of cultural diversity in Britain.”

In addition to a compelling plot, the book also contains some superb figurative language. Here are my favourite examples:

  • Harriet’s dress was so tailored and sequined it could have a life of its own, in a penthouse, with a limousine and chauffeur.
  • Yellow holdalls of dirty linens lay like sandbags in front of the pharmacy cupboard.
  • From one end of the ward Dr. Arnott approached with her hair in a perfect chignon. Her heels machine-gunned down the tiled floor.
  • There was nothing heavy about her, thought; despite her pregnancy she looked to Yasmin more like a pretty balloon that might float up any moment into the air.
  • It was a cold night but not the crisp and frosty kind. It was the cold of a dark dank cellar.
  • The presenter was a man whose handsome features had been curdled by age and other disappointments.
  • The baby lay on her back, helpless as an overturned beetle, waving her crooked limbs.
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