her father was the sandpaper on her husband’s soul

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Senior Member
What does the bolded expression mean?

‘My dad forgot to get Hilly anything, Bryant. He wanted to know if you’d stop at the Mall and buy him a toy or something. He’ll pay you when his check comes in.’
‘Sure,’ Bryant said, thinking: And pigs will ride broomsticks.
‘Thanks, honey,’she said gratefully. She knew perfectly well that her father –who now took dinner with them six and seven nights a week instead of the previous five –was the sandpaper on her husband’s soul.

Source: The Tommyknockers by Stephen King

Thank you
  • I think the image has to do with "polishing the soul". Her father is a major irritant. He is creating problems for Bryant, but by dealing with the situation Bryant is getting some "spiritual exercise". She loves Bryant for this.
    That afternoon he goes off to search for a suitable toy and buys a magic set which turns out to be Hilly's favourite present. Grandad gets the credit for his great choice of present.
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