A little tide that would not be coming in again…

Word count: 212 words

Reading time: Less than 1 minute

I like to share interesting pieces of figurative language I encounter in my reading. Today’s comes from Sebastian Barry, author of The Secret Scripture.

Following a recommendation by my readers Margaret and Seamus, I just finished reading the novel The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry. Zounds! What a bravura novel. So far, it’s one of my favourites of the year.

The apparent autobiography of an unlucky 100-year-0ld Irish woman — juxtaposed with the speculations of her psychiatrist — the book offers a gripping plot. But it’s the writing that really grabbed me.

Sebastian Barry has the Irish gift of gab, but, more importantly, he also has the ability to craft compelling, evocative prose. Here, for example, is a piece of figurative language the strikes me as several notches above many other metaphors:

And he looked older suddenly, less the bright prospect, I could see he was losing his hair just at the temples, it was drifting back, a little tide that would not be coming in again. 

I like the personification of the hairline — “drifting” seems like such a deliberate action. I also enjoy the comparison of a hairline to an ebbing tide. Doesn’t that line make you smile?

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