A surprising simile: lake-like eyes reflecting the sky. Something touching too about the contrast of apparently wide open eyes, and a face that resembles a rocky, ugly landscape.
‘His eyes were almost transparent as though in a country of ugly hills one were to find among the harsh rocks two sky-reflecting lakes.’
For other astonishing descriptions of eyes, see Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, the first conveying the colour of the eponymous hero/ine’s eyes, the other capturing the look of eyes that can only be a girl’s.
Then two quotations on the eyes of livestock, one by Russell Hoban on goat’s eyes, the other by Vasily Grossman on those of sheep. More movingly are Grossman’s summing up an entire character via the expression in their eyes, and conveying a soon-to-end-life through eyes that have seen too much.
Henry Williamson conveys the love of an animal for her first offspring, when his eyes open. And lastly, Mervyn Peake echoes Virginia Woolf with an arresting description of that rarity, violet eyes. Has anyone noticed that those two lonely aristocrats, Orlando and Titus Groan, have the same eye hue?
See also our bestellar review of this book, with its lavishly illustrated quote-mosaic, packed with fine phrasing and fresh metaphors.
Source: Mervyn Peake, Titus Groan, introduction by Anthony Burgess (London: Vintage Books, 1998), p. 12
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