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Always by Nicola Griffith
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Always

by Nicola Griffith

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Aud Torvingen (3)

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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
...With Always Griffith once again delivers a fascinating novel. It is an impressive bit of character development. The author pulls no punches when it comes to making her main character suffer. The crime element in the novel is not quite as present as in the first two volumes. If you approach this as a whodunit, the novel will probably not satisfy you. Personally I was much more interested in seeing if Aud would manage to find some stability in her life and heal some of the scars that are so prominently present in her story, and in that respect the novel absolutely delivers. If you enjoyed Griffith's science fiction and are not afraid to try a different genre don't hesitate to pick these up.

Full Random Comments review ( )
  Valashain | Apr 10, 2016 |
11/2012. This time, I paid more attention to the self-defense chapters. Maybe some of it will stick. I enjoyed the Seattle setting a lot, since I've now been to Seattle enough that I recognized many of the places. Mostly, though, I just love Aud.

6/2009. I'm more than half in love with Aud Torvingen. In this, Griffith's third book about her, she's a bit more human. Almost fallible. Clueless when it comes to one particular woman. The plotting is taut, the dual storyline engaging, and the characters very strong. A gripping, well-written and ultimately hopeful book. ( )
  satyridae | Apr 5, 2013 |
As seems to be a trend with Nicola Griffith novels, I read this in one sitting. Maybe one and a half. I don't understand why fandom has not embraced every single one of this author's works. She writes beautifully, her plots are fascinating, her female characters are front and center (every single chapter she writes passes Bechdel). (Vera, don't disabuse me of the notion that fandom means it when we say we want more awesome female characters.)

This is an odd intersection of literary fiction and hard-boiled crime fiction. It works in Griffith's hands, but I suspect it is a very fragile balance. Aud, her heroine, is not a character I can truly like — admire, yes, respect, yes, but like...Griffith does some very interesting things with performed gender here, and some of that is likely what I am responding to, but I did look up about three chapters in to say out loud to an empty room, "Dear lord, this person needs therapy." I remain convinced that Aud has PTSD from whatever happened in [b:Stay|7091244|Stay|Nicola Griffith|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1267232329s/7091244.jpg|6437599] (haven't read it yet; this stands reasonably well alone). ( )
  cricketbats | Mar 31, 2013 |
At the end of each of the Aud Torvingen novels I'm left sort of wrestling with how to rate and being unsure. The thing is, Griffith's prose is absolutely lovely. Her novels have a real sense of place, she brings you along into the sights and smells and sounds of a locale, the color of the light and the way the traffic moves and how it feels to be there. Characters that she cares about are sharp, clear, economically drawn with just the right collection of telling details, like a pen and ink sketch that captures the person better than a photograph. Gorgeous.


Also, "strong female characters," is becoming a sort of tired pro forma check list that books have to meet, but ... well there's no life to it, its a limp french fry of a given. But not here. When Griffith writes strong female characters they aren't cartoon girls who kick ass in a perky fashion, they are ferociously real people with needs and confusions and wisdom and foolishness and they don't whine, and they don't blame other people for their problems, and it hurts when they fall down, and its hard work to get up again.

And then. And then you'll have a character that for whatever reason the author isn't interested in, and that character is just a place holder. Which is just glaringly odd stood up against all the other fiercely real people milling about.

But most of all, the books fall down on plot. I'm not even sure I mean that they fall down, because I sort of weirdly like the plots. But they are rambling affairs, like a kid wandering around picking things up and putting them down again. We'll get pages and pages of fascination with the particular mechanics of some industry - how movie stunts are staged, or what Norwegians eat for lunch. And then a major plot development will get two paragraphs.

The weird thing is, I kind of fall in love with the idiosyncratic weirdness of it. One thing these books are not are paint by numbers slick genre fiction that ticks off all the boxes - murder on page three, dectective introduced page four, etc. etc. They are very determinedly their own weird little birds. And I kind of like that!

Fact remains, this is a novel in a genre that places a premium on plotting and pacing, and the plotting and pacing here are just kinda goofy. Endearing as I find that, I think its still a flaw.

So once again I am left wrestling. I kind of want to give this book three stars and five stars simultaneously. But I don't want to give it four. Because where it is good its better than four, and where it doesn't work its worse. And I'm not willing to put it in a blender.

One thing is for sure. I am going to continue to read Nicola Griffith. ( )
  bunwat | Mar 30, 2013 |
When I first picked this book up, I was surprised at how long Always was compared to the first two in the series about Aud Torvingen, whose penchant for violence would have had her labeled a thug if she had less money and social standing. Always, concerning a white collar crime on a film set and finding love again, made for a nice revisitation of a character I've grown to love, and I enjoyed it thoroughly.

However, I was surprised by how conscious I was of this book's technical flaws. The surfeit of characters whose names I couldn't remember was distracting -- more than I ever remember Anne McCaffrey being -- and Always for some reason uses a two-stories-in-one technique without using it as a central conceit. Combining both stories in the same book didn't seem to have much purpose, as neither of the stories seemed to seriously affect Aud's psychology or the reader's. (The subplot about teaching with good intentions leading to bad consequences could easily and more successfully have been turned into a short story, with a question at its heart about whether Aud was truly ignorant of the stage for premeditated murder she was setting.)

This is one of those books you read because you love the characters and want to spend as much time with them as possible, even though some of that time is not as quality as it has the potential to be. ( )
  pammab | Mar 26, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Nicola Griffithprimary authorall editionscalculated
Li, NellysCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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If you walk into a bar and there's a man with a knife, what do you do?
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Shaken by a brutal event involving one of her self-defense students and still grieving her lover Julia's death, lesbian former cop Aud Torvingen travels from Atlanta to Seattle to deal with possible fraud by the real estate manager handling her late father's holdings and finds herself investigating the sabotage of a television pilot and strongly attracted to the set's caterer, former stuntwoman Victoria "Kick" Kuiper.… (more)

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