- Two juicy reviews:
- Goodly sized chunks of my Locus interview are now available outside the paywall for your delectation and delight: “A lot of my work is about the body, and how we feel, and how the world works on our bodies and our bodies work on the world. Setting is my primary joy as a writer: the world and the body in it. I think story comes from that interface, where body meets world. Sort of the way some people think mind is born at the interface of world and brain. Whether you want to call it the problem, or the circumstance, or the situation, or the setup, the place a story begins is the world.”
- A reminder that I’m in the UK at the beginning of October: events in the North (mostly but not entirely Yorkshire) and three in London. I’ll probably read a snippet of Hild II at some point so come and listen.
The Critical Flame:
“Virginia Woolf’s Mistress Joan, on the pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, becomes absorbed in the details of her surroundings and in the “strange, merry stories” her fellow pilgrims have to tell. But as she approaches the statue of the Virgin at the top of the hill, Joan’s mind becomes filled “with an image that was so large and so white that no other thought had room there.” Christianity, it would appear, whites out the detail. This totalizing energy becomes the root of the tension between Hild and Paulinus: between Hild’s feminine attention to detail and the Crow’s single-minded masculine devotion to an idea—the conversion of Britain to the master narrative of Christianity. Hild’s power, based on observation and interpretation of a multiplicity of details, threatens to subvert the Crow’s authority, which is based on enforcing a single dominant ideology.”
“Like the Beowulf-Poet, Griffith evokes a world that is hard, harsh, rich and elaborate. Edwin’s royal hall at Yeavering is brought to life with descriptions with more than a touch of Hrothgar’s Heorot in Beowulf. The kings warriors – the gesithas of his retinue and the core of his warband – glitter with arm rings, rich belt fittings and ring-hilted swords. And Edwin wears a garnet ring that evokes the rich garnet decorations from Sutton Hoo. There a no trolls and dragons (though there are dangers and terrors enough in Hild’s world), but this novel is has the worlds of both Beowulfand Sutton Hoo as its backdrop and its recreation of this culture is intricate and effective as a result.”