[A Figure of Speech is] a tragic novel about the continuing deterioration of a "senior citizen" and the family's plan to move him into an "old folks" home. Living in a basement apartment in his son's house, the old grandfather refuses to submit to the arrangements that are being made for his life. His confidante and dear friend is his granddaughter Jenny, and the very thought of her dispels his self pity. "Of course he had a reason to get out of bed every morning. Jenny. She was his reason."
The language interchanges in the book are exciting. The old man always fights for what is real in language and life, rejecting the euphemisms applied to him. He refuses, for example, to be categorized as a...
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