The figurative language of Valerie Perrin…

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 similes from Valerie Perrin…

The author Valerie Perrin was born in 1967 in Remiremont, France. Her first novel The Forgotten Sunday , which was published in 2015, won the Booksellers Choice Award. Her English-language debut, Fresh Water for Flowers won the Maison de la Presse Prize, the Paperback Readers Prize, and was named a 2020 ABA Indies Introduce and Indie Next List title. It has been translated into more than 30 languages.

I found Fresh Water for Flowers — the life story of a cemetery caretaker — to be a compelling read. It also ably demonstrates the skill Valerie Perrin displays with figurative language. Here are my favourite examples from the book:

  • Madame Pinto and Madame Degrange, are cleaning the graves of their men. And since they come every day, they invent what needs cleaning. Around their tombs, it’s as clean as a flooring display in a DIY store.
  • Madame Pinto and Madame Degrange are slight as sparrows at winter’s end.
  • Her mouth was a line of disapproval. Her eyelids, always covered in green shadow over her blue eyes, were a lapse of taste she took everywhere with her.
  • I felt as if I were in an Italian farce, but without the beauty of the Italians.
  • Our house was square, with a tile roof covered in moss, just like nursery-school children draw.
  • His eyes shine like black marble covered in frost, when the winter sun glints on it.
  • She’d just lost two teeth. Her smile was like a piano abandoned in an attic.
  • Running your fingers through a child’s hair is like walking on the dead leaves in a forest at the start of spring.
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