Is it Graham Greene’s use of similes that creates the cinematic quality in his books?

I’m listening again to the first Graham Greene novel I read or listened to, Brighton Rock.

There is something about Greene’s writing that I find incredibly attractive.

Throw in his little morsels of philosophy and religion, which are ever present in all of this books, and they have a depth beyond the usual spy or thriller novel.

I have tried to figure out how his books appear to have such a cinematic quality and I think I have discovered a large part of the reason: his use of “like” and “as if” to describe things.

It is only when you become aware of his free, prodigious use of similes by use of “like” and “as if” that can notice the frequency.

There are other factors which contribute to the cinematic quality and the vivid images which form in your mind-for example, his spare use of stripped back English-but his use of similes is something anyone who wants to communicate with words can put to effective use.

Anyway, here are 20 great similes from literature.

If you want to try Grahame Greene for yourself I would recommend as good starting points either of these novels: Our Man in Havana and/or Brighton Rock.