Beware the rip-fanged hound

Beware the rip-fanged hound

A terrifying image of Odysseus in pursuit of prey, like a flesh-tearing dog on the trail of a defenseless deer or rabbit.  Odysseus, loving son, father, husband, great wise hero and, let us not forget, ‘sacker of cities’.  He’s a complex...
Nervous as horses

Nervous as horses

A jumpy, unsettling opening to a powerful page that drives to the source of fury in Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath. You can imagine horses prancing, shying, frisking, snorting and whinnying, eyeing askance an oncoming tempest. You can imagine that what’s to...
Eyes like lakes

Eyes like lakes

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...
Dark and small

Dark and small

What a powerful simile, conveying something inward-turning and dangerous through its vivid portrayal of cranial size as a small, corroded bullet. His skull was dark and small like a corroded musket bullet. For other bullet related metaphors and quotations, see Adam...
Reasoning in vain

Reasoning in vain

A convincing form of fruitlessness, as it’s hard to imagine a pious vulture.  The sister in question is an awkward customer, not easy for her entirely reasonable brother to reason with.’One glance at his sister was sufficient to make him realize that to...
Don’t stand there staring…

Don’t stand there staring…

A colourful way to deter someone from staring at you and, in case of need, to insult your staff.  Stenching mules. Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast books are not only an imaginative masterpiece but also a ready sourcebook of new and inventive invective. Your cursing...
A sky of rags

A sky of rags

A marvelous view of a heavily clouded sky; you can imagine vast firmament rags being saturated with water by a giant hand, before being crumple-stuffed into the welkin.’… and above the blurred outline of the Twisted Woods the sky was choked with crumpled...
Fuchsia and ruby

Fuchsia and ruby

A gift from the eccentric but kind-hearted and protective physician to the young daughter of the Earl and Countess of Gormenghast, slightly neglected by her parents for being but a girl, and having a certain shyness and feistiness.A striking description for the big...
Sourdust’s skin

Sourdust’s skin

Sourdust is the aged, dusty, crumbling Master of Ceremonies and custodian of endless ritual, rites and rules in the world of Gormenghast castle, having digested a thousand tomes of protocol.  He shuffles and coughs his way in reminding the Earl, Countess and their...

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