pillowing like a bowl of ice cream

Discussion in 'Italian-English' started by Freigeist, Mar 29, 2011.

  1. Freigeist

    Freigeist Senior Member

    Italia
    Italiano - Italia
    Hello!

    I read this paragraph in a short story by a Pakistani writer:

    The swirling cream-and-rust pattern changed as I played with the light, sometimes slick as a sheet of silk, sometimes pillowing like a bowl of ice cream.


    The protagonist is a photographer; he is speaking of a series of photos of a marble tabletop he took.

    I was thinking of translating it as:

    Il motivo a vortici color crema e ruggine cambiava a seconda di come giocavo con la luce, talvolta lucido/liscio come un lenzuolo di seta, talvolta [pillowing] come una coppa di gelato.


    But I got stuck on pillowing. What does it mean in this context?


    Thanks!
     
  2. TimLA

    TimLA Senior Member

    Los Angeles
    English - US
    Hi,

    This is a tough one.

    If you look at a piece of marble from the right angle, you can sometimes get the idea of "crevices" that look like the little crevices that you see in ice cream - like THIS.

    I think that the "pillowing" referred to here is the "fluffing up" that occurs when there is air in the ice cream.

    I'm not sure if you have the same concept in Italian - though I know I've seen "pillowing" at Giolitti!:)

    ????
    fessurini
    fenditurini
    ?????????????
     
  3. catspanish Junior Member

    Londra
    English - UK
    I think this is a spelling mistake. I think it should be billowing - like sails, so the verb would be gonfiarsi.

    Pillowing does not exist as a verb in English - so it may be a literary device. But I thing the most likely thing is a spelling mistake!
     
  4. Freigeist

    Freigeist Senior Member

    Italia
    Italiano - Italia
    @TimLA: I'm an Italian native speaker but I haven't the faintest idea on how they are called in Italian ;)

    @catspanish: what about "pillowing" as an adjective? I thought that it is used as an adjective in this sentence and that there is a parallel between "slick as a sheet of silk" and "pillowing like a bowl of ice cream". Or am I wrong?

    Thank you both.
     
  5. catspanish Junior Member

    Londra
    English - UK
    I think I understand what your author is up to!
    This is poetic language - so we have slick/silk (almost an anagram) and as you say the references to bed linen. He is definitely playing with pillowing and billowing (both bilabial plosives with the -b- and the -p-) but uses pillowing as that fits in with the bed linen conceit.
    Pillowing does not exist as and adjective in English - but becomes easy to translate if understood as "like pillows"

    It's a great passage!! Who is the author?
     
  6. Freigeist

    Freigeist Senior Member

    Italia
    Italiano - Italia
    Thank you!
    I'm lost, I'm thinking of giving up... It's so beautiful but so difficult too! ;)

    The author is this and the short story's title is Ice, Mating.
     

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