In my previous post, Four Little Lights in the Fog, I promised to return with an example from Stefan Merrill Block's book, The Story of Forgetting, of describing the 'coffin, not the grief'. So here it is. The teenaged narrator's mother, who is in the early stages of Alzheimer's, has disappeared from the family home one night, and her son goes looking for her.
"But my voice only echoed across the wide, blank pavement, with only the tungsten streetlamps bearing witness, hanging their heads, apathetically dim. I almost turned back to get my dad and the car, but for fear of losing even a second, I just kept running, beyond the staring, skeletal eye sockets of a thousand darkened windows, past the endlessly churning motorized waterfall at the entrance of our neighbourhood..."
I think we can gather from this that Seth is feeling pretty bleak. Taken out of context, it almost seems over-written, but in the novel it works perfectly. I hope this goes some way to illustrate what I was banging on about.
I highly recommend The Story of Forgetting by the way.