The figurative language of Noah Hawley…

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 metaphors from Noah Hawley….

I don’t typically read murder mysteries but when my friend Carlos Chavez recommend such a title a few days before I was about to climb onto a plane, I decided to succumb. Thank goodness I’m not a nervous air passenger, because the book’s plot turns on a plane crash.

Before the  Fall by producer, screenwriter, and bestselling author Noah Hawley (pictured above) moves at the speedy clip perfect for plane rides or time on the beach.

(You may know Hawley as the creator and writer of the following TV series:  FX,  Fargo and Legion . Earlier, he worked on BonesThe Unusuals  and My Generation.)

In addition to knowing how to stick-handle plot, Hawley also has a deft eye and ear for figurative language. Here are my favourite examples from Before the Fall.

  • San Francisco was foggy and cold that weekend, wide avenues rolling like tongue tricks down to the water.
  • The shoulder is dislocated, not broken. The procedure to pop it back into place is an epic lightning strike of violence followed immediately by a cessation of pain so intense it’s as if the damage has been erased from his body retroactively.
  • It is a space of pure white — white walls, white floor, white ceiling, white furniture — as if he has died and moved on to some kind of heavenly limbo.
  • On days when the temperature was over 90 she might buy a shaved ice from a Mexican man with a cart — usually cherry — and sit in the grass eating it with the flat thumbnail of a tiny spoon.
  • Maggie shook her head, shock calming her, making her limbs feel like seaweed floating on the waves.
  • The house is small and hidden by trees. There is a port leading to it, as if the wide-plank slats on the left end of the building have given up over the years, slumping from exhaustion or boredom or both.
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