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Always Hardcover – Bargain Price, May 3, 2007

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, May 3, 2007
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover; First Edition edition (May 3, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594489351
  • ASIN: B000VSC860
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 6.3 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,067,471 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

At the start of Griffith's intense third thriller to star Aud Torvingen (after The Blue Place and Stay), the stylish half-American, half-Norwegian lesbian ex-cop and self-defense teacher is still grieving over the shooting death of her lover, Julia, a year earlier. Also distraught over a recent violent incident involving one of her self-defense students, Aud welcomes the chance to leave Atlanta, accompanied by her friend, Matthew Dornan, to visit her ambassador mother, Else, in Seattle. There sabotage of a TV pilot in production that's been receiving OSHA and EPA complaints disrupts their vacation. Adding romantic tension is Victoria "Kick" Kuiper, a caterer and former stuntwoman, to whom both Aud and Matthew are attracted. Aud's ace investigation reveals political and environmental chicanery, but more importantly, leads to a surprising lesson about love. Lucid prose and great self-defense lessons are a plus. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Yowza! Griffith's six-foot-tall, cropped-haired heroine Aud Torvingen is back, flying to Washington since she has inherited her father's holdings and must deal with a Seattle real-estate manager who is robbing her blind. She also needs to see her wealthy, diplomat mother and meet her new stepfather. Interspersed are flashbacks of the women's self-defense class she'd taught back home in Atlanta--with unforeseen and deadly results. Griffith deftly parallels the two narrative threads that comment on and complement each other, creating a synergy of action and adrenaline for one of crime fiction's toughest yet most sensual lesbian detectives. Griffith's writing is smart and crisply detailed as she smoothly orchestrates a plot that delivers Aud to the soundstage for an independent film. There, production problems raise her suspicions of sabotage, confirmed when the coffee urn is spiked with a drug cocktail of Ecstacy, magic mushrooms, oxycodone, angel dust, and speed, nearly killing Aud and various crew members. Fist-slamming physicality is beautifully balanced with raised emotional stakes as Griffith dares to take her lethally forceful heroine to a new level. Whitney Scott
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Nicola Griffith: a native of Yorkshire, England, now a dual US/UK citizen. Author of six novels (Ammonite, Slow River, The Blue Place, Stay, Always, Hild) and a multi-media memoir (And Now We Are Going to Have a Party: Liner notes to a writer's early life). Co-editor of the Bending the Landscape series of original queer f/sf/h stories. Essayist. Teacher. Blogger. Winner of the Washington State Book Award, the Nebula, Tiptree, World Fantasy Awards, and six (6) Lambda Literary Awards. (Also a BBC poetry prize, the Premio Italia, the Outstanding Mid-Career Novelist Prize, and others.) Wife of writer Kelley Eskridge (and co-founder of Sterling Editing).

Her latest novel, Hild--about the rise of one of the most powerful women of the early middle ages, now known as St Hilda of Whitby--is published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (US) and Blackfriars (UK).

Nicola lives in Seattle, where she occasionally emerges from the seventh century to drink just the right amount of beer and take enormous delight in everything.

Customer Reviews

The story line is very believable.
Love the character of Aud but felt she was let down a bit by a weak story.
As ever, I adore Nicola Griffith's work.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A. Andersen on June 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Nicola Griffith's latest foray into the adventures of Aud Torvingen, independently wealthy ex-cop, is a tightly paced yet contemplative thriller. To call this novel a "thriller" is actually a misnomer, I would more class it as a character study in crime fiction clothing.

Following the events of STAY, where Aud grieved for her lover Julia, Aud returns to readers about seven months later less emotionally paralyzed and ready for business. In this novel, the business is to leave Atlanta for Seattle and meet her new stepfather and mother for the first time as a couple, while investigating the real-estate fraud of a warehouse turned movie studio she owns. She also falls in love with the enigmatic caterer Kick.

Griffith's writing is as crisp and sharp as ever. She has relaxed into Aud's character and the result is comfortable and familiar. The novel alternates between present day Seattle and past Atlanta, where Aud taught self-defense lessons. The two timelines merge seamlessly, and the self-defense chapters are extremely vivid and compelling. I found myself trying out a proper fist as I read them. At times, I enjoyed the self-defense chapters more than the present day storyline. Griffith's descriptions were so detailed and comprehensive that I had no trouble visualizing the women in their lessons.

I was delighted to spend more time with Aud, but I have a few quibbles. Personally, I loved STAY deeply and grew used to, even attached to, Aud's intense and explosive grief. In this novel, we find her emotional state much closer to "normal," ala the icy superhero we first met in THE BLUE PLACE, but Julia's death has caused her to be more open to love and more vulnerable.

That character shift, from sharply realized grief to growing acceptance, is a little jarring.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By F. Lorien Patton on August 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Nicola Griffith is an author whom I read, not because her characters are layered and fascinating (though they are,) nor because the pacing and plotting are tight and well muscled (though of course they are,) but simply because there is a beauty, an elegant simplicity to her words as they flow together on the page.

Aud does with body and motion what Griffith does with phrasing and timing: strike precisely, cleanly, with just the correct amount of force to achieve the desired result. Whatever that result might be.

"Always" does not disappoint in this regard. As lean and lithe as a predator, it gives the impression of being simple stream of consciousness narrative. You live in Aud's thoughts as she does what she does, without apology, without explanation (unless she is explaining it to herself.)

What is completely hidden is Griffith's hand, invisible in the face of the work itself. The underlying structure, the bones of the work, endless hours of exertion... of putting your soul on the page for anyone to see, to touch.

This is a masterwork, well worth the price of admission.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ashley Megan VINE VOICE on December 31, 2007
Format: Hardcover
In this third outing with the inimitable Aud Torvingen, Nicola Griffith tries a new organizational approach that, unfortunately, stumbles a bit. Still, even with its minor flaws, "Always" is a masterpiece of fiction, filled with action, romance, drama, angst, sex, and mystery.

The structure of this book is less like the earlier Aud books ("The Blue Place" and "Stay," both highly recommended), and more like the standalone "Slow River" (also highly recommended). The story is told in two parallel timelines: one in the weeks leading up to Aud's trip to Seattle, and one in the trip itself. This can be a bit confusing at the outset until you get used to the alternating chapter sequence, but that's not the biggest problem with this structure. The real problem is that one of the sequences - a series of self-defense classes taught by Aud, which ultimately have unintended (but not unforeseeable, at least to the reader) consequences - is, to put it bluntly, rather boring. Over the course of 16 chapters (coinciding with each of the 16 lessons) the reader will learn far more than she bargained for about women's self-defense. Now, on the plus side, Ms. Griffith certainly knows her stuff. But that's also the negative here, too - we get pages and pages of excruciating detail, describing the exact position for a head-lock or a kick, that do nothing for the story. I admit, I found myself skimming long passages in these chapters, waiting to get back to the real action. Compounding the problem is the sheer number of characters we're asked to keep track of in these sections. There are simply too many women in this class to keep them all straight.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By greenegret on May 18, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As ever, I adore Nicola Griffith's work.

I won't spoil the plot, but one of the best things about this set of books is watching Aud change and grow over time. She's had an eventful few years, and several things begin to move into position so that she can begin a new phase of life - I love that the author left things as beginnings instead of making them endings. This book is quite obviously a chapter in Aud's life instead of a close-ended tv episode - things continue to influence her in this book that began before, and things that begin here will continue or resolve later.
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