Yet 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 Tana French.

Generally, I don’t read murder mysteries. I find the genre too predictable and, often, the writing is pedestrian.

I make a happy exception for Tana French, however. Born in Vermont, but a long-time resident of Dublin, Ireland, Tana French won  the Edgar, AnthonyMacavity, and Barry awards for her first novel In the Woods (which I loved.)  Sometimes described as “the First Lady of Irish Crime,” French has made an international name for herself

Her most resent novel, The Searcher, which was published in 2020, is excellent — even though it doesn’t quite match the standards of In The Woods. I find her metaphors to be particularly apt and I enjoy the way she uses personification. Here are my favourite examples from Searcher...

  • When the grasshopper-skinny old musician brings it out, a few times a month, Cal sits a couple of stools away from the talkers and listens.
  • He [a puppy] has a tan face and black ears, with a white blaze running up his nose; the black patch on his tan back is the shape of a ragged flag flying.
  • Apart from the patches of spruce, trees are few and far between; just the odd lonesome one, spiky and contorted, bare for winter and blown permanently sideways by the memory of hard prevailing winds.
  • Even smack in the middle of a temperamental Chicago neighborhood, dawn sounds rose up with a startling delicacy, and the air had a lemony, clean-scoured tinge that made you breathe deeper and wider.
  • Instead he lies down on his grass and looks up at the stars, which are thick and wild as dandelions right across the sky.
  • The river is sluggish today, moving in muscular, viscous-looking twists.
  • In the first light Lena takes shape, curled up in the armchair with her face buried in her elbow, her hair a pale scribble.
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