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Last month I read Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief, a story of a girl who steals books during World War II in Nazi Germany.  It is beautifully written, and interestingly enough, written from Death’s point of view.  That might sound strange, but I promise you that it works.  Here’s some of my favorite lines from Death:

The minutes dripped past.

The desperate Jews – their spirits in my lap as we sat on the roof, next to the steaming chimneys.

I do not carry a sickle or scythe.
I only wear a hooded black robe when it’s cold.
And I don’t have those skull-like
facial features you seem to enjoy
pinning on me from a distance. You
want to know what I truly look like?
I’ll help you out. Find yourself
a mirror while I continue.

At the end of the novel there’s an interview with Zusak where the interviewer said, “Your use of figurative language seems natural and effortless.  Is this something you have to work to develop, or is innately part of your writing style?”

Zasak replied, “I like the idea that every page in every book can have a gem on it.  It’s probably what I love most about writing- that words can be used in a way that’s like a child playing in a sandpit, rearranging things, swapping them around.”

I love that.  Two of my favorite books- The English Patient and Memoirs of a Geisha read like poetry in some sentences.  The language adds to the story, never detracting from it.

What about you?  Do you have gems on the pages of your novels?  Do you like reading books that use figurative language?