The Simile Museum

Tag: Fiction

“What mattered was the breeze. The mournful sigh of the Atlantic washing over her, only ever heard in branch rattle and casuarina shivers. And she could hear them. Each green strand swept up in 1,000 breaths of wind and all its loosest fruit dropping from the sky like an emptied nest of sea urchins. She was careful never to walk barefoot under casuarina trees. The unwary shock of their fruit under heel could feel like glass thrust into bone … like lionfish barbs … the thorns of a blowfish … stepping on the fangs of a reef — the wind! Remember the wind! She can’t afford to drown herself in similes.”

-Ada M. Patterson

“Suddenly Wally stooped, reached down, and heaved Sir Arthur out in a fireman’s lift. He flung him over his shoulder like an old bag of oats.”

-Samuel Steward

“She, Laura, likes to imagine (it’s one of her most closely held secrets) that she has a touch of brilliance herself, just a hint of it, though she knows most people probably walk around with similar hopeful suspicions curled up like tiny fists inside them, never divulged.”

-Michael Cunningham

“She helped her friend Timo gut his house, ripping pipes and wires out of the walls, like popping the bones out of a corpse. They’d pried out windows like scooping eyeballs, leaving the house staring blindly across the street at equally eyeless homes, and she’d written up the experience — a family home of three generations made valueless because the suburb’s water had gone dry and Phoenix wouldn’t allow a hookup.”

-Paolo Bacigalupi 

“I looked down the length of the Vine. It was a long, narrow place, like a train car that wasn’t going anywhere.”

-Denis Johnson

“When I had been there a little longer, and had seen this phase of crystal clearness followed by long stretches of sunless cold; when the storms of February had pitched their white tents about the devoted village and the wild cavalry of March winds had charged down to their support; I began to understand why Starkfield emerged from its six months’ siege like a starved garrison capitulating without quarter.”

-Edith Wharton

“I still remembered the moment they first arrived, their spaceships burning the atmosphere like comets, like falling angels, and how we’d surrounded the ships in horror, aiming for their thin legs with anything we could find, because the rest of their bodies were armored but the legs snapped like pencils.”

-Brenda Peynado

“I identified the flaws, the weaknesses of my characters–and exploited them–like a thumb digging into the rotten spot of an apple.”

-Benjamin Percy

“But I couldn’t hear what he was saying, and I still couldn’t make out the words when smoke rose around him and he stood holding a giant seashell the size of a baseball glove filled with tobacco and this long, thick, bushy thing I’d later learn was sage that burned and smelled calm, like salt water.”

-Morgan Talty

“The rain lightened, and then turned to gravelly pellets of ice. It began to patter his windshield like the taps of someone trying to get his attention.”

-Rachel Kushner