More figurative language from Tana French

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 metaphors from crime writer Tana French….

I’ve become a recent fan of the Irish crime writer Tana French. I like the way she uses such sophisticated language to tell her gritty — and gripping — stories. But she always puts the writing first.

Here are my favourite examples of her figurative language from, The Likeness, which is second in her series known as the Dublin Murder Squad. While each book deals with a separate case, French is able to present the Dublin crime scene from a variety of different angles.

  • In the sitting room the piano is open, wood glowing chestnut and almost too bright to look at in the bars of the sun, the breeze stirring the yellowed sheet music like a finger.
  • Some people are little Chernobyls, shimmering with silent, spreading poison: get anywhere near them and every breath you take will wreck you from the inside out.
  • Doherty was a gangly kid with unfortunate ears, and when I held out my hand to him he did a double take straight out of a cartoon; I could practically hear the boing of his eyeballs snapping back into place.
  • I hate nostalgia, it’s laziness with prettier accessories
  • One of the fluorescents was on the fritz and it gave the room a shimmery, epileptic look, something out of a fever dream.
  • The word burned in my mouth, a wild clean burn like snow, taking my breath away.
  • It was a bright, cold day, high blue sky and the air like ice water.
  • Freedom smells like ozone and thunderstorms and gunpowder all at once, like snow and bonfires and cut grass, it tastes like seawater and oranges.
  • My heart was going like hoofbeats.
Scroll to Top