The figurative language of Sally Rooney

Reading time: About 1 minute

I like to share interesting pieces of figurative language I encounter in my reading. I write today about a series of similes by Sally Rooney….

Sally Rooney (pictured above), was born in the west of Ireland in 1991. I started reading her novel Normal People while standing in a bookstore in Melbourne, Australia last year.

Even while I’m not certain I appreciate her subject matter (I’m too old to be interested in the couplings of 20somethings), her writing style grabbed me by the eyeballs and kept me standing, reading her book for a solid 25 minutes.

I finished it when I returned home. Here is my favourite figurative language:

  • He carried the secret around like something large and hot like an overfull tray of hot drinks that he had to carry everywhere and never spill.
  • Her dress is cut low at the front, showing her pale collarbones like two white hyphens.
  • The smell of petrol infiltrates the car interior, heavy like a headache.
  • Lately Marianne walks around Carricklea and thinks how beautiful it is in sunny weather, white clouds like chalk dust over the library, long avenues lined with trees.
  • At times he has the sensation that he and Marianne are like figure skaters, improvising their discussions so adeptly and in such perfect synchronization that it surprises them both.
  • He nods, tapping his fingers o the steering wheel. His body is so big and gentle, like a Labrador.
  • He wrote about coming up from the U-Bahn station in Schönleinstraße to find it was suddenly dark out, and the fronds of trees waving over them like spooky fingers and the noise from bars, and the small of pizza and exhaust fumes.
  • Cherries hang on the dark-green trees like earrings.
  • The sky is a thrilling chlorine-blue, stretched taut and featureless like silk.
  • Outside her breath rises in a fine mist and the snow keeps falling, like a ceaseless repetition of the same infinitesimally small mistake.