I noticed what I thought was too much of a good thing in Speaking in Tongues: figurative language, something meant to liven up writing by using words in descriptive ways to paint a picture for the reader. The sheer amount of this language in the story (especially in the beginning) seemed over-the-top to me. I appreciate ZZ Packer's attempt to create vivid images for the reader, but the extreme number of metaphors incorporated into the piece (they're in practically every paragraph) actually distracted me from the story, annoyingly calling attention to themselves.
I'll admit it wasn't all negative. How could I contest "but Marcelle had developed the contemptuous languor of a zoo animal whose cage had been banged by too many people" or "their eyes blinking the slow and steady concerned flashes of car hazard lights"? There were some cool bits of figurative language, but I thought they were overshadowed by the multitude of others such as "the teachers standing by their doorways like sunglassless Secret Service agents" and "a sky the color of suburban swimming pools," metaphors that left me wondering, Really, is that necessary? (Not to mention thinking that "sunglassless" is a very awkward word.)
Ending of Caucasia
9 years ago