Hmmm so I am the Hungry Reader. The one who reads. The one who is constantly reading or wanting to read constantly. This blog is all about the books I have read, the ones that I am reading and gems that I plan to read in the future or whenever it arrives.
I had read “Hild” a couple of years ago and loved it. So I was more than happy to read and review this one when it came to me. I was astounded by the writing. Still am. “So Lucky” is almost everything rolled into one concise book – it is literary fiction, a thriller, a medical thriller at that, political in nature, an LGBTQIA read, and also autobiographical in nature to a very large extent. Nicola Griffith has put it all in and doesn’t lack a punch. It is there in almost every page of the book.
“So Lucky” is about Mara Tagarelli – the head of a multi-million dollar AIDS Foundation is also a committed martial artist. And suddenly, just one fine day she is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and doesn’t know how to deal with it, till she does. She just wants to break the pattern of being treated like a victim – even though her body is weighing her down. There is then the question of social media bullying (which is fascinating in its own way when you get to it). There is also the element of community and what becomes of friends and family when it actually comes down to being there.
It is an angry book, a book of hope and a book of love as well. There is a lot going on that will leave you bereft and raw, however, it is told with intelligence and much honesty. The book bites and stings and also hurts where it must. It doesn’t go gently all the way. I loved that the most about this book. After a very long time, I have read something that is so refreshingly candid and makes no bones about telling things the way they are.
“Hild” was a book that just appeared from nowhere. I had heard of it and somehow wanted to read it, as happens with most books. The story is set in seventh-century Britain and that caused for some difficulty to get into it to begin with, however once you get over the inhibition, the plot takes you over and that is enough.
“Hild” is a fantasy. It is historical. It is literary. It is everything rolled into one book. Hild can read and see the future. She is born in the times of turmoil. Everything is haywire and no one knows what is going to happen next. The book is fast paced and as a reader one does not know what is going to happen next. The funny thing is that I could not even predict what is going to happen. It is that good.
So, Hild is the king’s youngest niece. She is living in the middle Ages. She is the child that will become Saint Hilda of Whitby. The novel is about the person she might have been in her early years. Hild’s father, Prince Hereric is the nephew to King Edwin of Northumbria. He was poisoned. Hild was brought up in the court of King Edwin and Griffith traces her story from Hild to Saint Hilda.
The writing is stark and Griffith makes no bones about anything. There is struggle for power on every single page in the book and this is where Hild has to come to be and become the person she wants to be. There is a lot happening throughout the book – politics – which is at the core of the book, there is magic and then there are choices which Hild has to make at the end of it all.
I found the book very riveting and extremely charming, given the setting. Griffith brings to life one of the historical characters that people maybe are not aware of too much or do not talk of. It is a book if you love knowing more about historical characters and even if you don’t, then this is a good place to start with.