The figurative language of Virginia Feito

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 Virginia Feito…

I can no longer remember who recommended the first novel of Virginia Feito to me. Raised in Madrid and Paris, the author studied English and Drama at Queen Mary University of London. Feito then worked as a copywriter, writing TV scripts and advertisements.

But her first book, Mrs. March, is a marvel of fine literary writing. While I think her skills at plotting could still use refinement, her ability to spin images is truly remarkable. Here are my favourite examples:

  • The black-aproned waiter paid no heed as she stepped out, pantyhose wrinkling around her ankles like furrowed brows, as if in reaction to the cold.
  • She moved to the kitchen, finding it so pleasurably dark and peaceful with the gentle snoring of the fridge she almost felt guilty about the imminent invasion of the caterers.
  • The grandfather clock tutted disapprovingly in the foyer, like some sort of wigged Victorian judge clicking his tongue and — when the clock struck the hour — tolling his bell on the court steps in proclamation of her guilt.
  • Slipping the bottle green dress off its hanger she carried it to the bed carefully, as if it were a sleeping child…
  • The waiter appeared, hunched, hands clasped in front as if he were asking for forgiveness, and with a practiced caution (“Do we know what we want? Any questions?”) took their order.
  • She stared at the centerpiece as George’s teeth crunched into his toast, crumbs dropping on the paper like loud raindrops.
  • Alarm spurted in the dark recesses of her mind as a memory resurfaced — like the whiff of a rotting fruit forgotten in the back of the fridge….
  • Their diets weighted heavily on them, like eternal penances. Her own mother merely pecked at her food, as if afraid it might fight back.
  • Upon finding the voyeuristic specimen [a cockroach] on her bedroom wall, its shoe-polish black carapace taut over the ridges of its thorax, like an old man’s veined, leathery hands, she resolved to put a stop to the problem once and for all.
  • By morning, the snow had swallowed parked cars and continued to fall slowly, thoughtfully.
  • The sky was a deeper, stronger blue; it had finally lost the sad, bruised look of faded linen that has been washed too many times.
  • March felt ever so sorry for herself, a hard lump like a moist teabag forming in her throat, tears prickling her eyes
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