Wednesday, August 20, 2014

More Strange Metaphors in Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

I keep finding more and more bewildering metaphors in Dianne Gray's Let Sleeping Dogs Lie.

There's one that says, Large eyes like grapes in cracked stone.

When are grapes in cracked stone?

What does that mean?

I will say that though I eat grapes, I don't know a lot about the grape-growing industry. Maybe it's like grape vines crawling up a wall?

Here's another. She negotiated the stairs quickly with her match-thin legs, opened her arms like burnt chicken wings as if she were going to embrace him.....

I guess maybe I understand the chicken wing part, but why do they need to be burnt? Maybe Gray just thought the burnt wings would fit well with the matches?

I like the imagery in this next metaphor, but I don't think it succeeds in describing what it's trying to describe. ...Christian's odd wife whose incessant giggle sounded like ice cubes dropping into an empty glass.  I can totally hear the ice cubes. But I can't imagine anyone laughing like that. I mean I've never heard of a laugh that sounds that way.

Oh, and we return to to that particular metaphor. On the next page, it says, Gillian laughed another ten ice cubes.

One person's laugh is like ice cubes. Now there's another whose snarl is like a fruit. Christian's snarl hung on his face for several seconds like split passionfruit. Why passionfruit? Why not a guava? Or a clementine?  


kitchen hand said...

They just don't work, like bus wheels on a steam train, which would bounce off the tracks and crash to oblivion over a cliff, which is where that book's editor should be thrown. (Figuratively only, of course: I'm not that cruel.)

Dina said...

The frustrating thing is I think the book would be really good if she got rid of most of the metaphors. Or maybe that's not frustrating, because she could just delete a bunch of them and re-publish the book.

She might love them though, and there might be readers that have a different opinion from me and you.

kitchen hand said...

You're very forgiving of bad writing. Metaphors like that make me want to throw the book across the room.

Dina said...

Kitchen Hand,

It's not really about being forgiving...more about knowing people like different things.

I get very annoyed by things in books that other people might love. Or at least tolerate better than I do.

If someone loves metaphors and description, they'd hate my novel because I have close to none.

I read another book recently and it annoyed the hell out of me. It used a lot of something I had learned not to use. I don't know the name. But it's when the narrator keeps secrets from the readers and creates false suspense by dropping hints about the secret. I think doing this a little bit in a novel is pretty bad, but this novel did it a lot. I was so annoyed by it. I would have thrown the book across the room, but it was on my phone and I wouldn't have wanted to risk breaking my phone.

Anyway, after leaving my review....I went to read others and I saw maybe one other person complaining about the problem. Or maybe no one did. I can't quite remember. But most people said they loved the book.

I was thinking if I hadn't learned that this secrets-from-the-reader thing was not a good idea, maybe I wouldn't have noticed it. Maybe I would have liked the book.

kitchen hand said...

Dina, very good insights about what and what doesn't work for some readers - and writers.