Sunday, December 30, 2012

to huff and puff. like. . .

After  seeing  Shuler Hensley  portray a 600-pound  man in  Samuel D.  Hunter's play The Whale earlier this season,  the  central character of Jami  Attenberg's     new novel, The Middlesteins.   is a  lightweight  at 300  pounds.  But  Attenberg's  portrait  is   bigger and  more  comprehensive.   As  New York Times book  reviewer,  Julie Oringer  describes  it  with  an  apt  simile,  we  see Edie  Middlestein develop  from chunky baby  into    a woman  who   "huffs and puffs up the stairs like someone’s gassy old uncle after a meal.” 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Snuffing out similes like a pig after truffles. . .

I recently  came across the  reissue  by  the  New Rview of Books  of  Elaine Dundy's   1958 novel  The Dud Avocado. No  dud    but  a  trenchant   tale  smart and  pretty young American's  adventures in 1950s  Paris.  

Those    adventure include her stint   in  a Paris equivalent of an off-off-Broadway play,  also as  a film extra.  That, of course makes   this   an   especially  fun  book  for  theater enthusiasts  like me  and  Curtainup's  readers.  Typical  of  the  many  trenchant  one liners,  is the narrator's  observation  during her acting stint:

The  most important things to find while working in theater was someone to giggle with. To find someone to giggle with I place just below finding someone to flirt with and just above the ability to knit.

Ever  on the lookout for similes,  here too are  some  little  gems   worth noting here:

Thoughts rising in my head like little puffs of smoke

He was especially good at snuffing out the Big Bores, whom he tracked down like a pig after truffles.

.We walked into the drawing room, where everyone was sitting around like a bunch of stuffed owls.

Exchanged glances were ricocheting around the room like bullets.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Similes by playwright Clifford Odets

The  most satisfying play currently on Broadway  is   the 75-years old  Golden Boy by    Clifford Odets  who according to a New Yorker profile   was once  known as  "America's No. 1 Revolutionary Boy."   Odets wrote   Golden Boy    specifically to  make a lot of money  fast,  which   gives him more than a little  in commen with his   play's  hero  who  gave up violin  playing  for  a boxing career.

While  Odets  enjoyed the momentum  of fame and fortune,   when he found it taking of  his life he described  himself  as  "restelss  as a bullfrog on a lily pad."

The play itself  includes a  pungent   simile   made by  one of the characters    about  Joe Bonaparte's  relationship with his  father:     "His father  sits on the kids' head like a bird's nest.."

For more about the play,