Great literary metaphors and similes

In Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead, there is a simile comparing something new or untarnished to (paraphrase, I don’t have the book handy) “coins that had not passed through many hands.” I thought this was probably the coolest phrase in the book.

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (which I’m reading now, and highly recommend) has several excellent figures of speech:
“The elegant black-and-white ship, all 24,170 tons of it, loomed like a mountain in a dinner jacket.”
“…the magnificent steamboat of the Holland America Line on the arm of its proud tugboat escort, lofty, remote.” (More personification than metaphor, but still.)

So, what are some of the marvelous metaphors and sublime similes you’ve encountered in literature?

Anybody? Anybody?


William Golding, Lord of the Flies (from memory so forgive any errors):

“The boys stood and ate beneath a thunderous sky of brass that rang with the stormcoming.”

Douglas Adams, describing the ‘Pan-galactic Gargleblaster’, said drinking it was the equivalent of being beaten about the head with a gold brick. He also bucked the metaphor beautifully in HHGTTG: “They hung in the air exactly the way bricks don’t.”

And of course Shakey will always take the prize in metaphors (IMO):



I always loved Douglas Adams’s, “They hung in the air in exactly the way that bricks don’t.”