The figurative language of Tayari Jones…

Reading time: Less than 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 Tayari Jones….

I read a couple of laudatory reviews of the novel An American Marriage by Tayari Jones (pictured above) and decided to read it for myself. I wish I could say I was entirely blown away. Instead, I found it to be too much of a romance novel gone wrong. (The husband is unfairly incarcerated early in their marriage.)

My problem with the plot aside, Tayari Jones is a fine writer. Here are my favourite examples of her figurative language:

  • My mother had a fondness for wigs, and this time she was wearing curls the color of peach preserves.
  • I led her to this question, but once it was asked, I went as noiseless as a rock.
  • “You’re the one who kept a secret the size of Alaska.”
  • You also have to work with the love you are given with all of the complications clanging behind it like tin cans tied to a bridal sedan.
  • Celestial and I both sent money to his account every month, but it was like sending thirty-five cents a day to feed an orphan in Ethiopia, something and nothing at the same time.
  • What else hinds in my jewelry box? A small tooth, ivory like antique lace, with a serrated edge like a steak knife.
  • I flinched like someone slipped an ice cube down the back of my shirt.
  • The floor was covered with the kind of linoleum that you only find in the projects, and the seats were a fixed-income shade of orange.
  • The buildings on each side of the road were light brown, like pencil shavings, and the walls of one touched the other so that the road appeared to be flanked by castles.
  • I could see from the little turn-up at the corner of her eyes that she was so proud that she could have been her own mother.
  • Olive’s signature is small and cramped, like the letters were hiding behind one another.
  • Wood chips clung to his clothes like mites.

An earlier version of this post first appeared on my blog on April 19/18.

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