A load of old parabolics

One of the pleasures of Sunday afternoons in my pottery is listening to Open Book – one of Radio 4’s better literary efforts. Presented by the wonderfully husky Mariella Frostrup (please will she come and read me some bedtime stories?), it often features reviews of books or authors I’d never otherwise read.

Last Sunday’s got off to an interesting start with an interview with Richard Dawkins, who isn’t as trenchant about literature as he is about what he sees as the misguidedness of religion (he wrote The God Delusion).

However, I was spluttering into my tea when I heard this exchange:

Mariella Frostrup: ‘He [Portuguese novelist Jose Saramago, 1998 Nobel Prize winner] often writes in parables, doesn’t he?’

Amanda Hopkinson: ‘Yes, and one of his most parabolic novels is Blindness… ‘

I’ve never heard parabolic used as an adjective in this context before, assuming it was mathematical only, but much to my surprise, I find this is a legitimate, if unusual, construction. So, you can teach an old technical author new usages. Woof, woof!