Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Hild roundup #6

As I'm sure most of you know I've had to cancel a bunch o' stuff in the Midwest this week. But I will be fit enough for the big Seattle Central Library bash on Tuesday 12/10 (7 pm--it's free!) so if you're in town I hope you'll join me. And right now things are looking good for Writers With Drinks in San Francisco on Saturday 12/14 (doors open at 7 pm--it's not free, though I'm assured no one would be turned away if they can't afford the sliding scale cover).

So while I recover, here are the latest snippets about Hild that I've rounded up for your delectation and delight. (Roundups #1-5 available here.)

The Inferior 4
"The other thing that makes Hild a terrific read is the prose, which is gorgeous. I could quote parts of this book all day: "Long-legged birds speared shellfish, and women with sacks collected coal and driftwood, dodging the surf that ran up over the sand like the froth in a milkmaid's pail. The sky showed as blue as twice-dyed linen. The sea was restless, glinting like napped flint." Look at the alliteration: "Long-legged"; "collected coal"; "surf" and "sand" and "sky." Look at the near-rhymes: "ran" and "sand"; "twice-dyed"; "glinting" and "flint." Look at the startling similes: "as blue as twice-dyed linen"; "glinting like napped flint." It's as close as you can get to poetry in prose."

Radish Reviews
"Hild is, without a doubt, one of the best books I’ve read this year. [...] Hild is about an extraordinary, singular woman. It’s about the women in her life and the constraints they lived under and how they were still able to influence the path of history. They did it subtly, through weaving patterns and taking calculated risks instead of with swords and open violence, but they did it nonetheless. / This is an amazing book. Read it."

Locus Magazine
Hild review by Cecelia Holland
"Time after time, a sentence brings you there – "slack tide, when the muscular surge of the water stops, is just gone, like a dying man’s breath." "The rain was coming down like rods of glass from an iron lid of a sky." [...] As an evocation of the Dark Ages it’s a beautiful read, reminding me often of Dorothy Dunnett’s King Hereafter and Sigrid Undset’s Kristin Lavransdatter."
(No link because it's only in the print edition (Dec 2013) but it's well worth seeking out for Holland's interesting approach to the ease/difficulty approach of 16th vs. 7th centuries in fiction.) 

The lost Entwife
"Hild takes on history with imagination, a deft writing style, and some of the most complex, gorgeous storytelling ability I have ever read. […] So, first of all, let me talk about Griffith’s writing. It’s masterful and beautiful and all those adjectives that people use to try to describe a brilliant writing style. But, more than anything, what struck me was how knowledgeable it was. I really don’t want to just gush over this book more. Suffice it to say that any serious historical fiction fan, or really, anyone who has had a passing interest in the Dark Ages, should check Hild out."

Books By the Willow Tree
Hild by Nicola Griffith, Marie G Johansen
"I don't know where to start. I read a lot, generally at least two books a week. I love large, thick books that can take awhile to read. When I love a book, the longer it lasts the better it is! I read with enjoyment. I don't spend my reading time with anything that I don't enjoy, which is why I seldom give books less than 3 stars here or on any other site on which I post my reviews. Actually, most of my reviews are 4-5 stars. This one should have at last 7 stars by that reckoning. Some books, very few actually, are finished but stay with me, like the after taste of a particularly fine something .. wine, chocolate, a favorite dessert or meal. This book is staying with me, and I am wishing that the sequel was already available so that I could continue to savor the reading. [...] Ms. Griffith is a master at prose. This book, in places, reads more like poetry, each word so finely tuned that they sing like a finely tuned violin or as the voices in a perfectly pitched acapella."

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
"It is an astonishing book. And one filled with beauty and power. Griffith’s prose is spare, but her eye for line and rhythm, the perfect turn of a phrase, is hard to match. The world she depicts feels real, textured, nuanced: full of patterns, complicated relationships, violence, love, need. Hild herself is a fantastic character, and Griffith explores the loneliness to which her pattern-seeing, bright, sharp mind and adamantine will subjects her with grace, and power, and elegant brutality."