Reading time: Less than 2 minutes
I like to share interesting pieces of figurative language I encounter in my reading. I write today about a series of similes from American author Susan Choi….
I don’t usually buy books as a result of advertisements, but when my favourite book podcast, the New York Times’ Book Review Podcast started running some persuasive ads for the book Trust Exercise, by Susan Choi, I fell into line.
Choi (pictured above), is an American writer based in Brooklyn who was born in Indiana to a Korean father and a Jewish mother. She earned a B.A. in Literature from Yale University and an M.F.A. from Cornell University.
Although I didn’t find the plot as compelling as I’d hoped, (it’s in part about a #metoo type of incident) I could certainly understand the fuss over Choi’s ability with figurative language. Here are my favourite examples:
- [He] had cast a look on them that Sarah still saw in the back of her mind. It seemed to mix score with a challenge. You look pretty nothing to me, the look flashed onto them like a spray of ice water.
- Crossing an ocean of parking-lot asphalt they came upon the football stadium, like a ruin of Rome standing silent and bleached in the heat.
- At the opposite end of the spectrum, Manuel, when summoned to the piano, went rigid, his sheet music snapping in the breeze of his quivering hands.
- The cold ache, like fist pressing onto her diaphragm, has long since replaced hunger. She’s almost used to it, this pressure of sadness like a stone on her diaphragm’s bellows.
- There’s a narrow little staircase at the end of the hall, uncarpeted and steep, as if it’s recently grown up from being a ladder.
- Clutching the pom-pom pajamas, Sarah locked herself into the tiny bathroom, like a forest of candles and powders and creams in which toilet, sink, and tub had accidentally grown, funguslike, through the floral perfumed understory.
- Mr. Kingsley made a face —the sort of face a nun makes when the doings of the wicked are too regrettable to even discuss.
- Another of Karen’s observations about people who drink is that their drunkenness doesn’t steadily accumulate like snow building up. It has valleys and peaks, of confusion and relative clearness.
- He answered the door in a black turtleneck and black slacks, his still-copious hair like steel wool brushed straight back from the cast-iron face.