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Always

(Aud Torvingen #3)

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3.98  ·  Rating details ·  913 ratings  ·  77 reviews
Aud Torvingen is back -- contemporary fiction's toughest, most emotionally complicated noir hero returns to teach a new round of lessons in hard-hitting justice, and to confront new adversaries: her own vulnerability and desire.

The steely shell of Nicola Griffith's seemingly indomitable protagonist Aud Torvingen appears to be cracking. The six-foot-tall fury (who proved i
...more
Hardcover, 463 pages
Published May 3rd 2007 by Riverhead Books
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Average rating 3.98  · 
Rating details
 ·  913 ratings  ·  77 reviews


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Fiona
Dec 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kfa
This wasn't the meditative experience of the first two novels, but it's a book about Aud Torvingen and that's a stellar start.

This time around, we alternate chapters with flashbacks to the past; specifically a self-defense class run by Aud. In the present day, Aud is still finding her feet, but she's clearly come a long way since book two. And in the flashbacks, the advice given for self defence is excellent.

It's always hard for me to find my words with this Aud series, and Nicola Griffiths in
...more
reading is my hustle
Too much detail getting in the way between plot and Aud's latest lady. AND I was not wild about the self-defense class chapters.

I still have a crush on Aud though.
Duh.
...more
jo
Nov 27, 2009 rated it it was ok
april 2015. i finished this. re-read it from scratch with new eyes. i am no longer willing or inclined to pronounce on the motives that lie behind the creation of this book. in fact, i feel pretty lousy (presumptuous, for one) for having done so in the first place. i have also discovered that NG has MS, which would have been easily findable had i finished the book in the first place, since it is in the afterword. many of the other things i wrote in my OR i also find now wrong, though not cussedl ...more
Sam (Hissing Potatoes)
There was a bit of a different, looser feel to this book compared to the first two, possibly because it was written so many years after them. But I absolutely love Aud and Dornan's friendship and the lessons of the self-defense class throughout the book. Griffith's to-the-point writing intermixed with beautiful nature descriptions continued to amaze. ...more
Ulf Kastner
Dec 09, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: neck snappers and solar plexus thumpers
It seems that I can only muster a handful of random realizations and remarks pertaining to this third book built around the Aud Torvingen character (after The Blue Place and Stay):

Aud has psychopathic leanings. Why else would she ponder the ease with which she could maim or kill just about anybody she encounters by ways of going into nonchalant anatomical detail about such violence? Part of me gets this line of compulsive mind wandering of someone with a detached sense of physical superiority bu
...more
Melody
Feb 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
11/2012. This time, I paid more attention to the self-defense chapters. Maybe some of it will stick. I enjoyed the Seattle setting a lot, since I've now been to Seattle enough that I recognized many of the places. Mostly, though, I just love Aud.

6/2009. I'm more than half in love with Aud Torvingen. In this, Griffith's third book about her, she's a bit more human. Almost fallible. Clueless when it comes to one particular woman. The plotting is taut, the dual storyline engaging, and the characte
...more
James
Whew! "Always" is a damn good story (clear and complete). ...more
Alena
Sep 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: queer, fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Gill
Nov 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Gill by: Kiranerys
Shelves: 2008, month-11
Aud Torvingen first appeared in The Blue Place and Stay, but Always can be read as a standalone novel, although you might not appreciate the character development here.

For me this is the strongest of the three works. Griffith interleaves real-time chapters set in Seattle with flashback chapters in Atlanta some months earlier, where Aud had taught a beginners' self-defence class. It is immediately implied that something terrible happened in Atlanta and as we follow the self-defence lessons a feel
...more
K
Aug 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: All the women I know.
Recommended to K by: The first two!
Guilty pleasure that's not really that guilty. Like the others, progressive, mindful, sensual, and tiny bit wicked. Only misses the 5 stars by being just a touch too over-the-top. The utopia Aud promises to set up at the end of the book is in fact a utopia I would invest in, but I just can't believe it will all be true, even in that fictional version of the world where women like Aud and Kick exist. Great sex scenes. Great love scenes. Real friendship. The question: What does it mean to live wit ...more
Vanessa
Jan 03, 2014 rated it it was ok
I was disappointed by the third and final book of the Aud series. The format of alternating between the main story taking place in Seattle and the self defense class in Atlanta just didn't work.

Seattle was the better of the two stories but was still plagued with the "I'm completely and totally devoted to a person I just met" that happened in the first book of the series.

The self defense class "story" didn't even feel like a story--more like a book on self defense (that may or may not be accura
...more
sarah
Jan 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I love this book. When I first read it, I was unaware that it was book 3 of a trilogy. I didn't get any of the references to Julia, but I loved it anyway. (Later, I read the series through in the right order. It made more sense.)

Interspersed with the plot are chapters about Aud teaching a self-defense class. These are my favorite chapters. The women in the class are interesting, and the culmination of their plotline is—to me—even more interesting than the climax of the main plotline. Additionall
...more
Rob
Apr 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
...With Always Griffith once again delivers a fascinating novel. It is an impressive bit of character development. The author pulls no punches when it comes to making her main character suffer. The crime element in the novel is not quite as present as in the first two volumes. If you approach this as a whodunit, the novel will probably not satisfy you. Personally I was much more interested in seeing if Aud would manage to find some stability in her life and heal some of the scars that are so pro ...more
Grace Fisher
Dec 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Aud Torvingen is the lesbian power fantasy I never knew I wanted. Strong and silent, tall and square-jawed, she's got money, sick martial arts skills, and a fast mind. She gets involved in interesting cases, inevitably tangles with a gorgeous woman with some sort of Trouble in her life, and kicks a lot of ass.

Griffith's writing is enjoyable - great use of short, punchy sentences. Conveys smell and feel of a place really well, whether it's Atlanta, Seattle, or Norway.

Basically if you want mystery
...more
Maria
Mar 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbtq
"We always have a choice of some kind, just not always the choices we would like."

Nicola Griffith has such a fascinating voice, such a powerful relationship with language. The level of texture is almost overwhelming, transporting the reader into a world that feels as real as the one that seems to yield its power entirely to the narrative. There is a particular light, vibrancy of colour and smell – a whole sensorial experience.

There is a much different energy to Always when compared to The Blue P
...more
Stefanie
Oh man. I would not have finished this except I own a signed copy and generally love Nicola Griffith's writing and felt a bit obligated to finish the "Aud" series. Her wordsmithing skill is on display here but the sadly, the story just drags. And while Aud, the heroine, is undoubtedly still a badass, she was irritating in ways I didn't expect in this entry. The ending feels good, but I wouldn't fault anyone who couldn't make it there.

The story is strangely split into two narratives: in one, Aud
...more
shrug city
Sep 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
I love Aud Torvingen so much. Here we have a butch, Norwegian private detective who gets to go about taking joy in the strength of her body and having tragic and complicated love affairs! Also, I want to date her. The best thing about the Aud Torvingen series is its mindfulness, expressed in a way that is almost antithetical to the modern treat-yourself conception but there all the same: Aud is intensely present in her body and in her perception of the world. Here we get to see some of the defin ...more
Arinn Dembo
Mar 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mark
Mar 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi, reviewed
As always, I never regret reading Griffith. This book is tightly paced; its differing plot lines interweave with a simple directness the never seems overwrought or discordant. Aud is always Aud, but her transformation from the beginning of the series to this is dramatic while remaining consistent to her character. Her family shaping is revealed here, and the choices she finally makes are driven from her own understanding of of what she needs for herself rather than the outside expectation she wa ...more
Vickie
Dec 07, 2009 rated it liked it
"You're a sensualist, a hedonist of the first order," Kick tells Aud, right near the end of the book, and you know then that Kick has Aud's number. For all of her expediency, efficiency, and near-Terminator ability to assess and nuetralize danger, Aud Torvingen is a creature as much a slave of her body as she is a master of it. Aud has herself convinced that she is fully in control, and a creature of intellect. She relies on and revels in her formidable deductive skills, and is even disappointed ...more
Wes
Apr 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: wlw, mystery
I liked this book more than The Blue Place, but less than Stay. I did really enjoy the split-time perspectives. I liked understanding the way Aud thinks, and how she came to be that way. However, the way the different chapter perspectives worked was confusing to me at first, and led to a great deal of misunderstanding of the major plot points and the timeline. I would have loved to see this book properly edited to make the setting clear at all times. I think then it would have been a truly class ...more
Kimberly
Jun 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: series
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Julie
Jan 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
I’m glad I saw this series through, because it isn’t a series; it’s one really long novel. Averaged out across its three books’ worth of pages, I give it 3.75 stars. There was a drive and a purpose to The Blue Place that Griffith never recaptures - but struggling through Stay means getting to see Aud’s story arc through to its conclusion in Always. As a single story, it’s not a decent effort from a more-than-decent writer.
Isblue
Feb 01, 2020 added it
Shelves: lgbt, mystery, 2020
And yes this is also a re-read. I really enjoy Aud dealing with normal women who are so unlike her. And I wonder how Aud came to be the person she is with her background. I'm really enjoying discovering Aud as a developing personality who is so new to relationships and yet so unchildlike in her person. I am hoping the author still plans on writing more Aud as she has epressed in the past. ...more
Cherie In the Dooryard
May 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
What a sad way to end this series. Not that the end was sad, but that this slow, broken-up, meandering story really brought down what had been taut, compelling reads. I sometimes dreaded the violence of Aud, but it turns out that Aud without violence is...kinda boring and whiny.
Margaret Haviland
Nov 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Just finished re-reading Aud's final installment. Needed to be reminded to not be nice and to enjoy losing myself in exercise and physical work ...more
Doolah
Jul 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Very empowering.
Eastendleo
Nov 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I have thought of a hijacking as a largely unfortunate occurrence. Somebody wants to go here and instead ends up there. Of course in art the hijacking, (more usually a gentler diversion often entailing either hijinks or ineffectual protestations), and its disruption of routine leads to, well, whatever the creator is aiming for. What comes to mind is that it's often tragedy or the warm fuzzies.

In Nicola Griffith's third outing with her American-Norwegian PI, Aud Torvingen, what I can't decide is
...more
Janet
Mar 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: thriller
5 out of 5 stars

Nicola Griffith is still fairly new to me as an author and quite frankly, I have been missing out.

"Always" is the third book in the Aud Torvingen series and while it can stand as a read-alone book, it does help to read the first two. This is a very fast paced thriller set in Seattle, with an additional story line set in Atlanta.
Let me say, right up front, that I am more than a little in love with Aud. She's completely self-contained to the point she's mostly unaware of how people
...more
Glen Fox
May 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Aud 's near-solitary life is refracted through the detailed, gripping and superbly realised self defence lessons she gives a group of Atlanta women. Part choreography, part philosophy, tautly and tensely described, her lessons give her students the self confidence .and self worth she herself finds so elusive. As their teacher she is a role model of confident, competent strength but emotionally she is barely functioning after Julia's death. Her influence on the group and its darkly unintended ou ...more
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Nicola Griffith has won the Washington State Book Award twice, the Nebula Award, the James Tiptree, Jr. Memorial Award, the World Fantasy Award, Premio Italia, six Lambda Literary Awards, and others. She is also the co-editor of the Bending the Landscape series of anthologies. Her newest novels are Hild and So Lucky. Her Aud Torvingen novels are soonn to be rereleased in new editions. She lives in ...more

Other books in the series

Aud Torvingen (3 books)
  • The Blue Place (Aud Torvingen, #1)
  • Stay (Aud Torvingen #2)

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“When an ovulating woman offers herself to you, she's the choicest morsel on the planet. Her nipples are already sharp, her labia already swollen, her spine already undulating. Her skin is damp and she pants. If you touch the center of her forehead with your thumb she isn't thinking about her head—she isn't thinking at all, she's imagining, believing, willing your hand to lift and turn and curve, cup the back of her head. She's living in a reality where the hand will have no choice but to slide down that soft, flexing muscle valley of the spine to the flare of strong hips, where the other hand joins the first to hold both hip bones, immobilize them against the side of the counter, so that you can touch the base of her throat gently with your lips and she will whimper and writhe and let the muscles in her legs go, but she won't fall, because you have her.

She'll be feeling this as though it's already happening, knowing absolutely that it will, because every cell is alive and crying out, Fill me, love me, cherish me, be tender, but, oh God, be sure. She wants you to want her. And when her pupils expand like that, as though you have dropped black ink into a saucer of cool blue water, and her head tips just a little, as though she's gone blind or has had a terrible shock or maybe just too much to drink, to her she is crying in a great voice, Fuck me, right here, right now against the kitchen counter, because I want you wrist-deep inside me. I hunger, I burn, I need.

It doesn't matter if you are tired, or unsure, if your stomach is hard with dread at not being forgiven. If you allow yourself one moment's distraction—a microsecond's break in eye contact, a slight shift in weight—she knows, and that knowledge is a punch in the gut. She will back up a step and search your face, and she'll feel embarrassed—a fool or a whore—at offering so blatantly what you're not interested in, and her fine sense of being queen of the world will shiver and break like a glass shield hit by a mace, and fall around her in dust. Oh, it will still sparkle, because sex is magic, but she will be standing there naked, and you will be a monster, and the next time she feels her womb quiver and clench she'll hesitate, which will confuse you, even on a day when there is no dread, no uncertainty, and that singing sureness between you will dissolve and very slowly begin to sicken and die.

The body knows. I listened to the deep message—but carefully, because at some point the deep message also must be a conscious message. Active, not just passive, agreement. I took her hand and guided the wok back down to the gas burner. Yes, her body still said, yes. I turned off the gas, but slowly, and now she reached for me.”
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