Of sound and silence

Of sound and silence

A startling description of silence, likened to emulsified sound. Silence, after all, is only sound in emulsion. See two other similes for silence, both from Henry Williamson’s Tarka the Otter, each relating to owls, but one chilling and one gentle. And please...
Rising and falling like …

Rising and falling like …

A description of Lindos which charmed me as much for its sea-cleaned pebble paving as for its simile for undulating streets.The narrow streets which rise and fall like music are paved with clean sea-pebbles.See our bestellar love letter to this slim classic of travel...
On seeing and sensing

On seeing and sensing

Durrell seems to be seeking a subtle way to convey the perception of a view, before suddenly landing a pin-hole camera lens as the right image. But it was not a view that one ‘saw’ in the strict sense; it radiated over one, dancing in that brown heat,...
As cold as …

As cold as …

A cool simile for coldness, since jelly by its nature needs to be kept so.  See also a superb maritime simile by Keats to convey the same temperatures.  Below us the sea sat perfectly still, cold as jelly.Enjoy our bestellar love letter to this slim classic of travel...
Hangover face

Hangover face

Wonderful way to describe the face of a hungover man, though no doubt he felt every bit as bad as he looked, straining under the weight of a pounding headache.  The waste of time was considered deplorable, and the naval lieutenant whose permanent hangover has given...
As softly as …

As softly as …

What a place, what a time, the two idyllic years Durrell spent in Rhodes after the war.  His account is full of lyrical descriptions of scenes and sounds, and what could be more enchanting than having your days drop in as he describes. In Rhodes the days drop as...
Mineral metaphor

Mineral metaphor

Saint-Exupery takes your breath away with the originality of his metaphors.  That peace is greater than the sum of its parts is one thing, but to liken that to minerals assembling in the ground to form a tree shows the complexity of that sum of parts. Peace is present...
As fabulous as …

As fabulous as …

A marvelously original simile for ‘fabulous’, found in this slim, exquisitely written book by Saint-Exupery.  Something resonant in that phrase, the ‘immensity of the sea’, particularly as a description of expanding a boy’s mind through...
A dam snake

A dam snake

Infrastructure likened to a curling serpent, whereas most serpentine similes I’ve seen have been speed-related.  See Tarka the Otter, Christopher Logue’s War Music and Mervyn Peake’s Titus Groan…. the great grey dam curled up in the sun like a...
As ancient as …

As ancient as …

As a simile for ‘ancient’ you could use a range of places and races, but here the intoning of the prayer makes ‘Jewish’ particularly appropriate.  In other contexts, we could say as ancient as China; as ancient as Babylon; as ancient as a...
As puny as …

As puny as …

An ideologically committed army officer expects her child to be born robust and struggle-ready, and is disappointed by his neo-natal vulnerability and apparent weediness.  She soon abandons him to the care of the poor family who provided her with a room in which to...
Like fluid sculptures

Like fluid sculptures

A fine idea to describe a flotilla of sail boats, as liquid sculptures, and note too that passing flock of egrets whose appearance is likened to a ripple of applause. On the river egrets break upon the skyline in a blinding ripple of applause, disturbed by a flotilla...

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