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Always Hardcover – 3 May 2007


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 463 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Books (3 May 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594489351
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594489358
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 3.8 x 23.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 838,126 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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First Sentence
IF YOU WALK INTO A BAR AND THERE'S A MAN WITH A KNIFE, WHAT DO YOU DO? Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A reader on 22 Nov. 2007
Format: Hardcover
Aud Torvingen is back for more punishment in the third of Nicola Griffith's wonderful series. She travels from Atlanta to Seattle with her friend Dornan to meet her mother and her mother's new husband. Whilst there she is checking up on some property she owns, currently leased by a film company. Soon Aud is embroiled in movie production, sabotage and a potential romance. At the same time Griffith relates Aud's earlier experience of running a women's self defence class in Atlanta, and the dramatic result of the training and advice she gave.
Aud is a fascinating character, always believing she is in control and totally self contained. But Griffith, over the series, has stricken her with grief, had her shot, cut, beaten and poisoned. This Aud is reeling from her experiences over the last couple of years and is all the more engaging for it. Read and enjoy.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Still reading this (it's a busy time of year) but I'm thoroughly savouring this sequel to The Blue Place and Stay (although Amazon doesn't do Stay more's the pity. This means you have to be very determined to follow the whole story. Though they could stand alone well). I love the main character, Aud. She initially seems strong mentally and physically, being a tall martial arts expert, ex-policewoman and daughter of high powered diplomat. However, the more you read, you become increasingly aware of her complexity and vulnerabilities. This not only makes her engaging but also draws you into the plot. I won't comment on the plot as you can see that description in the sales blurb. As with the other two books in the series (and indeed all her work) Nicola also sets the scene well, in a quite visceral and captivating way. You really feel like you got off the plane in Seattle, it expertly triggers those mirror neurons and gets them working overtime. I would highly recommend reading the whole series. It's well worth the effort. You can only get paper copies of Stay on line outside the US but it was one of the most powerful, honest and accurate portrayals of grief I have ever read and it gives this story context. I have also been reading Nicola's latest novel, Hild, which is a complete contrast to the Aud books in terms of setting. Although it took me a while to adjust to 9th Century England it's a beautiful and in some senses challenging read but again well worth the effort.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By K-Nurik-K on 16 Aug. 2008
Format: Paperback
Oh yeah, totallu worth reading.
Self-defence class chapters will teach you a lot, will make you think of your own safety, even taking self-defence class because you never know.
But you can get a lot of tip
Want to find out more of Aud. We are all can seem strong characters but we are vulnerable even if we don't like this or hate to admit it.
You will see Aud from different prospective, from different angle of view which is perfectly portraid.

Novel that won't disappoint you, as Nicola Griffith wrote it.

It really makes to want more of Aud...what happens next with her in the next book...?
Just need to wait and maybe Nicola will give to us... I sure hope it happens.
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By Martclare on 3 Mar. 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
All fine
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 19 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
After the stinging "Stay," where do we go from here? 4 Jun. 2007
By A. Andersen - Published on Amazon.com
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. I would have appreciated a little more acknowledgment of Julia as Aud encounters her new love interest, a few lines to show that Aud still carries Julia with her even as she moves on. But that's a fault of picking up seven months after STAY's close. Grief, and time, changes everything.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Precisely crafted language 7 Aug. 2007
By F. Lorien Patton - Published on Amazon.com
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.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Aud rhymes with "wowed" 1 Jan. 2008
By Ashley Megan - Published on Amazon.com
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. Several of them could easily have been combined - Nina and Paulette, for instance, or Jennifer and Tonya - into a single character, making it easier for us to focus on the important hints being dropped about the ultimate tragedy about to ensue - hints all but lost in descriptions of how to hit someone when you have long nails, are carrying a bag full of groceries, have brown hair, and it's a Tuesday.

But, lest you think the entire book a disappointment, let me reassure you that the weakness in these flashback sequences is more than made up for by the "main" part of the story, set in Seattle. Aud and Dornan have travelled there for a variety of reasons, including meeting Aud's new stepfather. But the big reason, and the one that provides Aud with the most butt-kicking opportunity, is that someone is sabotaging work on a movie production that happens to be taking place on real estate Aud owns. The idea is to shut down production, force them to default on their lease, and then encourage Aud to sell the property cheaply as part of a rezoning scam. Only Nicola Griffith could get action and suspense from real estate law, but there you go. Naturally, Aud takes offense at the crude attempts to manipulate her, so she Takes Steps to find the perpetrator.

But of course, despite her attempts to remain cool and aloof, our dashing heroine must, must fall in love. It's no secret anymore that despite what Aud wants us all to think, at heart she's a huge softy and a desperate romantic. In "Blue Place" there was Julia, in "Stay" there was Luz (OK, not a love interest per se, but who doesn't realize she's fallen hard for the kid - except Aud herself, maybe). Here, there's Kick, a former stunt woman who's now doing catering. Naturally, Aud falls in love at first sight. Theirs is a rocky romance, full of secrets and misunderstandings, but it's sweet and sexy and, frankly, feels more authentic to me than Aud and Julia's relationship ever did. I'm looking forward to more of Kick in future books.

Fans of Nicola Griffith and her alter-ego Aud Torvingen will find plenty to enjoy in this new book. While not the strongest in the series, it is nevertheless a fantastic novel, striking a perfect balance between hard-bitten action and soft-hearted romance. Like Aud herself, there is more here than meets the eye, and I eagerly anticipate more from this utterly unique and fascinating heroine.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Always 19 May 2007
By greenegret - Published on Amazon.com
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.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Nicola Griffith 17 July 2007
By sangray - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This author's writing blows me away. She has a way with words that I think is exquisite. I happened upon The Blue Place, and liked it so much I followed it with Stay and Always. I would recommmend her books to
any and all readers. I have not yet read Ammonite becaus SciFi is not a
genre I enjoy, but because she wrote it, I intend to try it.
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