The Simile Museum

Category: Fiction


“He is gone and the water rushes up behind me like a couple of police officers with their blue lights flashing, with their steel blue guns drawn.”

-Samantha Hunt

“There were huge beds of oysters here, seals in the harbor, in the woods inexhaustible game. This great glacial cut with its nuptial bays, the coves of wild celery and rice, this majestic river. The birds, like punctuation, are crossing in level flight. They seem to approach slowly, accelerate, pass overhead like arrows. The sky has no color. A feeling of rain.”

-James Salter


“She’ll look briefly at your writing, then back up at you with a face as blank as a donut.”

-Lorrie Moore

“They rode on. The white noon saw them through the waste like a ghost army, so pale they were with dust, like shades of figures erased upon a board. The wolves loped paler yet and grouped and skittered and lifted their lean snouts on the air. At night the horses were fed by hand from sacks of meal and watered from buckets. There was no more sickness. The survivors lay quietly in that cratered void and watched the whitehot stars go rifling down the dark. Or slept with their alien hearts beating in the sand like pilgrims exhausted upon the face of the planet Anareta, clutched to a namelessness wheeling in the night. They moved on and the iron of the wagon-tired grew polished bright as chrome in the pumice. To the south the blue cordilleras stood footed in their paler image on the sand like reflections in a lake and there were no wolves now.”

-Cormac McCarthy

“It appeared this place had undergone a transformation. What kind of plants were they? They looked like climbing vines, with huge, egg-shaped leaves creeping along the silt like innumerable small beasts.”

– Can Xue

“He lost more weight; he lost more weight, his skin turned gray, sagged like old sail from a shipwreck of bone.”

– Craig Bernardini

“And the lake always laps at the shore so gently,
licking the hand you dip into it like a young dog.”

-Jenny Erpenbeck

“He told me I was the sign he’d been waiting for and,
like looking into a crystal ball, he’d just read a private message from God
in the silvery vortex of my left pupil.”

-Ottessa Moshfegh

High Attitude

“To you, your son’s day-to-day life was like a favorite TV series. You followed it with interest, but because you missed half the episodes, you couldn’t understand the whole plot.”

-Andrés Neuman

Gold Digging

“In many ways he was like America itself, big and strong, full of good intentions, a roll of fat jiggling at his belly, slow of foot but always plodding along, always there when you needed him, a believer in the virtues of simplicity and directness and hard labor.”

-Tim O’Brien