The figurative language of Sharon Harrigan….

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 from writer Sharon Harrigan…

As a mother of triplets, I have more than a passing interest in multiples.

Perhaps that’s why I was drawn to the novel Half — a story of identical twins, by Sharon Harrigan. The book is narrated by twin sisters who speak as one, until they discover a family secret. Overall, I didn’t find the plot as compelling as I had hoped, but I found Harrigan to be a marvellously gifted writer, with a terrific eye and ear for figurative language.

Here are my favourite examples:

  • He taught us Arabic words he had picked up in the army, little shrapnel sounds, sharp and rapid fire.
  • Mom’s high-heeled sandals showed off nail polish the color of bruises.
  • His eyes grew round as cakes.
  • “Cold enough?” Dad asked. Every bump on our skin said yes.
  • Our hair hung down from the hats in double ponytails like icicle lights.
  • The dark hair on his fingers felt like fur.
  • We hung our heads like cows.
  • Our teacher’s name fell out of his mouth like a toad.
  • It was spring break, the cherry blossoms not yet in bloom, and dark, short days lingering like phlegm that can’t be cleared from the throat.
  • I grabbed the key from Paula’s purse, then dashed through the snow globe the world had become.
  • The weather was a lion escaped from the zoo, fiercer and hungrier every season.
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