The figurative language of Rebecca Kauffman…

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 from Rebecca Kauffman…

I love it when I book I pull randomly from a library shelf, written by an author I’ve never heard of before, turns out to be a winner. The very fine novel, Another Place You’ve Never Been, written by Rebecca Kauffman (pictured above) falls into precisely that category. Kauffman holds her B.A. from the Manhattan School of Music in Violin Performance, and her MFA in Creative Writing from New York University. She currently lives in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

I think it was the book jacket praise she received from Joan Didion that caught my eye. Wow, this young writer has an eye and an ear for simile. Take a look at this remarkable collection:

  • The North Dakota plain was as flat and yellow as a cornmeal pancake, dotted with small gleaming ranch homes and dusty vehicles.
  • The moon was like a see-through communion wafer against the dark blue sky.
  • Marty had left the empty plastic bread bag on the lawn, and a mild wind dragged it slowly somersaulting across the backyard.
  • A soupy dusk settled in like warm breath.
  • After the cake-cutting, Amelia sipped a glass of champagne and dissected a stale little profiterole with a toothpick while she watched Tom and Tracy spin across the faux-wooden dance floor. It was scratched and gleaming beneath them, like an ice rink.
  • Her arms were as skinny and shapeless as noodles.
  • The whale crashed down with a huge, graceful swell of water and for a moment, everything felt slow and slippery and just out of reach, like the end of a dream.
  • The misplaced contact lens felt as big and bad as sheet of paper stuffed into his eye socket.
  • A painful-looking pimple rose from the direct center of his chin, like it had been placed there as a challenge.
  • Her breath snagged suddenly against the back of her throat like she’d swallowed a hair.
  • She took a seat at the far end of the leather couch, which sank generously beneath her as though it had been holding its breath in anticipation of her.
  • It felt as though he was trying on happiness like it was a garment; to see if it fit to see if it was worth holding on to.
  • The full moon was white and textured like a biscuit, as though it might crumble to pieces if disturbed.
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