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Slow River (S.F. MASTERWORKS) [Paperback]

Nicola Griffith , Vincent Chong
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

14 Feb 2013 S.F. MASTERWORKS

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 de Oest 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 new found 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 de Oest 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...

Slow River won the 1997 Nebula Award for Best Novel.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (14 Feb 2013)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0575118253
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575118256
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.2 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 381,307 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Book Description

A masterwork of feminist SF - winner of the 1997 NEBULA AWARD for Best Novel.

About the Author

Nicola Griffith is a British science fiction author, editor and essayist. Griffith graduated from the Michigan State University Clarion science fiction writing workshop, in 1988, and has won the NEBULA, the JAMES TIPTREE JR., the WORLD FANTASY and four LAMBDA LITERARY AWARDS. Although born in Yorkshire, she now lives in Seattle, in the USA.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
The plus points of this novel were the author's rich imagination in a likely portrayal of a future where all sorts of chemicals and carcinogens have infiltrated our ecosystem, setting off a brand new industry which is dedicated to cleaning and combating this gunk in a high-tech environmentally friendly process. The other plus point was the main mystery narrative as the heroine tries to work if something more was behind her kidnapping than met the eye, and an exploration of dark sexual secrets within the family. The way these plotlines were intertwined gave great depth to the story, although I would have preferred more investment in the mystery storyline, which only appeared to come to maturity very late in the book and somewhat abruptly.

Unfortunately my negative points relate to the characterisation. Individually, the character's do make sense and are well drawn in isolation - but together, it doesn't add up. The relationship between Lore and the predatory Spanner wasn't quite believable to me. Neither was Lore's obsession with knowing whether she'd killed one of her kidnappers - I mean, is that really a big deal? Furthermore, almost the entirety of the books characters appear to be lesbian. That in itself isn't important, but Lore hides her own sexuality during her teen years despite being surrounded by apparently gay couples - so why the big secret? I think there was only one heterosexual relationship in the book that I could remember. Finally, the budding love relationship also seemed to come out of nowhere.

Overall, despite the fascinating future depiction, I found the interaction between the characters a bit deadpan and lacking in credibility.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Powerful writing 19 Oct 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was impressed with the depth and maturity of the writing in this book.

We follow Lore's story through two timelines (her "present" and "past"), which are cleverly interwoven to build our understanding of the plot. We discover how she came to work at the water treatment plant in an effort to live life on her own terms and escape a manipulative relationship. It is partly a mystery/crime story, revolving around the powerful family she has been running from. It is also a science fiction novel in the literal sense, in that science plays an integral role in the plot.

The details of the water treatment process may be difficult to grasp for readers with no prior knowledge and are not clearly explained. For those of us who know the basic principles, though, it is this level of detail that makes the book special.

What didn't work so well for me was the overt theme of women's sexuality, which took up too large a place in the story compared to the mystery and sci fi elements, for my taste. The fact that almost all the main characters were lesbian women made the story lose credibility for me.

Despite this flaw, I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys well-written, character-driven science fiction.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant! 2 Oct 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is an impossible to put down book that ends too soon!

The main character is the youngest daughter of a super rich family who work to develop environmental clean-ups throughout the world.

I loved the way the author develops mixes flashback and narration. The descriptions were very rich, the book created a real sense of being in this near future world, of living on the margins of society.

Compelling story telling
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 26 July 2014
By skd
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Excellent, original and thought-provoking, I will read more by this author.
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4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This novel started really well and promised a lot, and is well written. But then the heroine gets a job in a water purification plant and suddenly I am learning far more than I need about how to purify water. A whole lot more than I need. I want excitement, mystery, a roller coaster of emotions. I'm not revising for an interview at my local sewage farm.

Nicola Griffith is a good writer and very well regarded so this could just be a personal reaction, but I couldn't make it through this book.
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