Alena's Reviews > Always

Always by Nicola Griffith
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Oct 11, 08

bookshelves: queer, fiction
Read in October, 2008

** spoiler alert ** Oh my, I think that's the best book in the series yet.

It's another emotional read with fantastic prose. The structure of the book works well, it changes between chapters that continue Aud's story, I'd say about 6 months after Stay ends, and chapters that have Aud teach self-defense to a group of women. While the one story arch follows Aud on taking further steps on the ladder out of grief, grief that was so central in Stay, the self-defense arch really gives another insight into Aud's philosophy of life, a philosophy that seems to be challenged in the other story-line. While a strong teacher in class (this storyline is set in the future), Aud in this novel really struggles with herself.

After the emotional turmoil in Stay, where the grief for Julia encompassed me as well, Always shows a new phase for Aud. She continues her friendship with Dornan, which is beautiful to read. She's really more like a child at times in her insecurity in how to deal with other people. Opening up to Dornan, I think, also allows her to be more open with others, for example her mother who we get to meet. At the core of the novel, however, is Aud opening up to another woman. It's both beautiful and painful to read. There are moments of jealousy, which seems to be a new experience, that are written so convincingly that I wanted to slap Dornan myself. And other than with Julia, there's a lot of negotiation going on between Aud and Kick, they both make mistakes and try to fumble their way through life and this relationship. That the whole thing ends on a positive note was very rewarding at 4 am this morning.
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