The figurative language of Tom Perrotta….

Reading time: Just over 1 minute

I like to share interesting pieces of figurative language I encounter in my reading. I write today about a series of metaphors and similes from novelist and screenplay writer Tom Perrotta….

Tom Perrotta (pictured above) is the bestselling author of nine works of fiction, including Election and Little Children, both of which were made into Oscar-nominated films. I read his latest novel, Mrs Fletcher, eagerly because I enjoy satirical writing as long as it’s handled by someone with a heart. This book, however, I found sadder and grimmer than his previous titles.

Still, Perrotta displayed his usual flair for figurative language. Here are my favourite examples:

  • Becca released the bike – it balanced on its own for a moment before toppling dreamily onto the grass.
  • He was one of Eve’s favorites, a longtime regular at the Center, one of those chatty, friendly guys who moved through life like a politician running for reelection, shaking everyone’s hand, always asking after the grandkids.
  • At the Senior Center, Amanda’s tattoos were a constant source of friction with the clients, and, apparently, an open invitation to criticism, like one of those bumper stickers that read, How’s my driving?
  • “Visiting my mom.” Trish made a sour face, as if this were an unpleasant obligation, like jury duty.
  • There was nothing to do but lie awake in the darkness and watch the bad thoughts float by, an armada of bleak prospects and unhappy memories.
  • A professor with crazy-clown hair was lecturing a bearded grad student who kept nodding like his head was on a spring.
  • Feeling a little self-conscious, Eve removed the olive pit from her mouth and placed it daintily on her plate. There were six of them now, lined up like bullets with bits of stray flesh stuck to the surface.
  • Chris took another napkin from the dispenser. Instead of wiping his face, he unfolded I very carefully and laid it over his plate, like he was covering his bones with a blanket.

An earlier version of this post first appeared on my blog on Aug. 31/17.

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