What is there to say about Hild that Amal El-Mohtar hasn’t already said better?
Griffith herself says:
So history is a story. And story is a kind of magic. So is it possible for historical fiction to be anything other than fantasy?
When I set out to write Hild I had so many competing needs that thought the whole project might be impossible. Ranged against my need for bone-hard realism was my hope for the seventh-century landscape to be alive with a kind of wild magic—an sfnal sense of wonder without gods or monsters. I was set on writing a novel of character but on an epic canvas.
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.
I began reading it at around ten o’clock of the evening, and did not – could not – stop until I was done, at four in the morning.
Read it. Read it. Read it.