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Slow River (1995)

de Nicola Griffith

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MembrosResenhasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
1,2034716,681 (3.84)95
Nicola Griffith, winner of the Tiptree Award and the Lambda Award for her widely acclaimed first novel Ammonite, now turns her attention closer to the present in Slow River, the dark and intensely involving story of a young woman's struggle for survival and independence on the gritty underside of a near-future Europe. 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 was the daughter of one of the world's most powerful families...and now she was nobody. Then out of the rain walked Spanner, an expert data pirate who took her in, cared for her wounds, and gave her the freedom to reinvent herself again and again. No one could find Lore if she didn't want to be found: not the police, not her family, and not the kidnappers who had left her in that alley to die. She had escaped...but she paid for her newfound freedom in crime, deception, and degradation--over and over again. 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 inventing her 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 games one final time, she found that there was still the price of being a Van de Oest to be paid. Only by confronting her past, her family, and her own demons could Lore meld together who she had once been, who she had become, and the person she intended to be.... In Slow River, Nicola Griffith skillfully takes us deep into the mind and heart of her complex protagonist, where the past must be reconciled with the present if the future is ever to offer solid ground. Slow River poses a question we all hope never to need to answer: Who are you when you have nothing left?… (mais)
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What kept me engaged at the beginning of Slow River was all the detail about waste-water treatment methods! Yes, I am a huge nerd. It was only more towards the end that Lore's three selves---childhood, her time with Spanner, and the time after Spanner---really started to come together so that I wasn't frustrated to be left hanging at the end of each (short) section, and started to fall for Lore herself. The way everything comes together at the end---"like the confluence of three rivers"---is just wonderful.

Tense switching usually irritates me, but in Slow River I almost didn't notice and it actually succeeded in helping the mental transition between sections of the story. If you're a writer, this is the book to study.

Please note that this book is pretty much all about abuse. There is hinted (and eventually, dealt with head-on) child sexual abuse, rape/"date" rape/all kinds of messed up consent, an abusive partner, forced sex work, suicide and attempted suicide, etc.... I'm sure I'm forgetting things. Not a very happy book. But it has an optimistic ending, which is important to me.

This was interesting to read right after I finished Trouble and Her Friends, another queer sci fi novel. In Trouble, the criminals are lovable scamps; in Slow River, living outside the law has serious consequences even when no one gets caught. Spanner's image of herself as a quirky, essentially good Robin Hood who lives by her wits has many cracks and flaws.

The other similarity between the two books, of course, is that Lore is a lesbian, and so are many of the major and minor characters, and that's NOT one of the traumas---there is no homophobia at all. (There also isn't any visible racism, though there is an intense ableist scene.) On the other hand, in Trouble and Her Friends, homophobia and racism and sexism haven't truly changed, they've just adapted to new contexts with new twists. I thought a lot about the contrasts between these two visions of institutional discrimination, and while Trouble's is probably more realistic, Slow River's is still an interesting change of pace. It certainly makes you think. ( )
  caedocyon | Mar 6, 2024 |
Story: 4 / 10
Characters: 6.5
Setting: 7.5
Prose: 6 ( )
  MXMLLN | Jan 12, 2024 |
Ammonite was the first Griffith I've read and it pretty much blew me away. Slow River less so, although it is solid as can be and a good story. Lore, Frances Lorien de Oest (spelling is close if not spot on) daughter of impossibly rich people who do remedial environmental clean-up of blasted sites around the world, is kidnapped. (All this in a nearish future.) She manages to escape and finds herself naked and injured out on the streets of an unknown city. Rescued by a somewhat feral woman, Spanner, she embarks on a different life. She thinks her family has abandoned her, wouldn't pay the ransom, and decides to take her life into her own hands come what may. Of course she gravitate to what she knows and ends up with a new identity working in a water treatment plant. Nothing is what it seems. The book does push the coincidence threshold, but with enough confidence that you just go, ok, whatever. ***3/4 ( )
  sibylline | Aug 31, 2021 |
Adult sci-fi. Lambda Award winner. Published in 1995, this is a look into the not-so-distant future, where the water treatment process is tricky and dangerous (life and limb may be lost) and identities are contained in computer chips embedded in one's hands. ( )
  reader1009 | Jul 3, 2021 |
I really wanted to like it, because it has a lot of themes I enjoy, but the pacing just did not hold my interest for more than a few pages at a time. ( )
  dreamweaversunited | Apr 27, 2020 |
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Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Nicola Griffithautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Chong, VincentArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Lynch, KathleenDesigner da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Spaeth, DanaArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado

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Nicola Griffith, winner of the Tiptree Award and the Lambda Award for her widely acclaimed first novel Ammonite, now turns her attention closer to the present in Slow River, the dark and intensely involving story of a young woman's struggle for survival and independence on the gritty underside of a near-future Europe. 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 was the daughter of one of the world's most powerful families...and now she was nobody. Then out of the rain walked Spanner, an expert data pirate who took her in, cared for her wounds, and gave her the freedom to reinvent herself again and again. No one could find Lore if she didn't want to be found: not the police, not her family, and not the kidnappers who had left her in that alley to die. She had escaped...but she paid for her newfound freedom in crime, deception, and degradation--over and over again. 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 inventing her 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 games one final time, she found that there was still the price of being a Van de Oest to be paid. Only by confronting her past, her family, and her own demons could Lore meld together who she had once been, who she had become, and the person she intended to be.... In Slow River, Nicola Griffith skillfully takes us deep into the mind and heart of her complex protagonist, where the past must be reconciled with the present if the future is ever to offer solid ground. Slow River poses a question we all hope never to need to answer: Who are you when you have nothing left?

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