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Slow River by Nicola Griffith

Slow River (1995)

by Nicola Griffith

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Wow, never thought I would hate a book so much. The plot is pretty simple - a spoiled rich girl gets kidnapped, manages to escape, believes that she has killed one of the kidnappers and decides to hide from her family since she's afraid of being charged for a murder and believes that her father is behind the kidnapping and had previously molested her older sister (who committed suicide). She got rescued by a stranger women who later on becomes her lover and her pimp. Gets tired of prostituting herself and gets a job at a sewage plant.
I decided to read this one after recommendations from many female booktubers who consider themselves feminists. Griffith portrays Lore as a beautiful talented woman, who could work as Assistant Manager on her parents' plant from age 15. And how did she decide to start her new life? Yep, by having sex with her pimp in front of some perverts for money and by prostitution. She makes such a big deal about being humiliated while being kept naked and filmed by her kidnappers, yet she drugs her friends and films hard-core porn with them without their consent. She constantly mentions that she believes her father has made an attempt to molest her as a kid, but she turns the blind eye on her girlfriend/pimp's business with child molesters and the so called 'daisy chain' - monsters who sell toddlers for sex. The only human thing she does - is her guilt driven attempt to save Pablo's job. And that's it.
Trying to run away from monsters she has become a monster herself.
I'm sick and utterly disgusted by this book. ( )
  Kisa_Vorobyaninov | Jun 1, 2017 |
A near-future story of identity and abuse and slow recovery. Women are the protagonists here -- men are secondary players. ( )
  questbird | Dec 4, 2016 |
Too much cyberpunk is all about the Net and the Virtual World and omg, hackers are so cool! [book: Slow River] is definitely cyberpunk, but it's also full of meaty characterization and realistic relationships. ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
Lore is the privileged daughter of a wealthy family, but her life changes when she is kidnapped and her family won't pay the ransom. After escaping her kidnappers, Lore falls in with Spanner, who gets her involved in more and more illicit activities. Lore finally breaks away from Spanner and sets out to build a new identity through a job at a wastewater treatment plant and a burgeoning romance. The story is revealed through three separate intertwined storylines going through the three phases of Lore's life: up to and including the kidnapping; with Spanner; and after Spanner. This is a slow-moving, character-driven story depicting a near-future world where the privileged few are even more separated from everyone else, who are often the victims of their capriciousness. Although romance is an integral part of the plot, this doesn't feel like a book about lesbians; rather, Lore just happens to be a lesbian, and having relationships is part of her development as a person. I mostly enjoyed the story but I wasn't blown away, and I found the big reveal about the abuse that happened in Lore's childhood to be somewhat unconvincing as depicted, which tainted the overall reading experience for me. ( )
  sturlington | Nov 19, 2015 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Nicola Griffithprimary authorall editionscalculated
Lynch, KathleenCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Spaeth, DanaCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Kelley, my hoard.
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At the heart of the city was a river.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
She awoke in an alley to the splash of rain. She was naked, a foot-long gash in her back was still bleeding, and her identity implant was gone. Lore Van Oesterling had been the daughter of one of the world's most powerful families...and now she was nobody, and she had to hide.

Then out of the rain walked Spanner, predator and thief, who took her in, cared for her wound, and taught her how to reinvent herself again and again. No one could find Lore now: not the police, not her family, and not the kidnappers who had left her in that alley to die. She had escaped...but the cost of her newfound freedom was crime and deception, and she paid it over and over again, until she had become someone she loathed.

Lore had a choice: She could stay in the shadows, stay with Spanner...and risk losing herself forever. Or she could leave Spanner and find herself again by becoming someone else: stealing the identity implant of a dead woman, taking over her life, and creating a new future.

But to start again, Lore required Spanner's talents--Spanner, who needed her and hated her, and who always had a price. And even as Lore agreed to play Spanner's game one final time, she found that there was still the price of being a Van Oesterling to be paid. Only by confronting her family, her past, and her own demons could Lore meld together who she had once been, who she had become, and the person she intended to be...
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0345395379, Paperback)

Slow River won both the Nebula Award and the Lambda Literary Award for author Nicola Griffith. The book's near-future setting and devices place it firmly on the science fiction shelves, and the characters' matter-of-fact sexuality further label it as lesbian SF. But make no mistake, Slow River is no subgenre throwaway. Griffith's skill at weaving temporal threads through the plot bring protagonist Lore van de Oest to tragic life, and you will genuinely care about her in the end.

Born into a bioengineering family made wealthy by cleaning up after humanity, Lore leads a life of privilege and power. Riches don't bring happiness, though, and the van de Oest family hides its share of dark secrets. Lore is kidnapped, but escapes from her captors when she realizes her family isn't going to pay the ransom. Naked, alone, and wounded, she is saved by the brutally street-smart Spanner, who teaches Lore to survive by exploiting the Net (and human) weaknesses. To learn to trust, though, Lore must face her demons, one by one, until she can begin again.

Griffith's biotech-science details are accurate, and she fits them smoothly into the story in the manner of a cyberpunk master. This novel's real strength is its characters, though. The van de Oest family, Spanner, even characters who appear only briefly, are all distinct and consistent--not to mention very human. Lore herself seems so personal that Griffith's note about the story's disturbing aspects not being autobiographical was probably wise. Slow River is more than good enough to transcend genre and appeal to both queer SF readers and a more broad audience looking for an excellent character-driven SF story. --Therese Littleton

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:37 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Awakening in an alley, naked, bleeding, and missing her identity implant, Lore Van Oesterling, the daughter of a powerful family, finds a chance to reinvent herself in expert data pirate Spanner.

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