This lovely word, which echoes its opposite, a monsoon, refers to a soughingly dry desert wind. Yet another superb simile by Joyce on the effects of emotions upon the heart.
Stephen’s heart had withered up like a flower of the desert that feels the simoom coming from afar.
Source: James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1964), p. 108
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