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Blue Place Paperback – Jun 1 1999

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Avon (June 1 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380790882
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380790883
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 1.9 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 227 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #403,104 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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Science fiction writer Nicola Griffith, winner of the Nebula and Tiptree Awards, proves that good writing transcends genre. The Blue Place is a spare, cold suspense thriller--Norwegian noir--with the kind of strong, enigmatic characters that made Griffith's Slow River such a great read. Aud Torvingen is a former cop, martial artist, and Scandinavian to the core. She stalks powerfully through the streets of Atlanta and the fjords of Norway in search of an art thief and killer. At first, she frightens us a bit, because she insistently imagines how easy it would be to kill almost everyone she meets. Having descended more than once into that dark, cold psychic realm wherein violence provides primal pleasure, Aud is constantly wary of her fellow human beings. But our fear turns to fascination as she finds herself falling in love with Julia, a smart, beautiful art dealer mixed up in the crime, and getting closer to finding the center of the danger in the icy north.

As in Slow River and Ammonite, Griffith's attention is often on the bodies of her characters--their awareness of skin and muscle, sinew and bone suffuses the action. Griffith closely scrutinizes their deeper inner workings, their emotions and logic, as well. The story is tense and gripping, as a good thriller should be, but the best part of The Blue Place is Aud's fascinatingly familiar search for self. --Therese Littleton --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


"A suspense novel. . .a character study. . .a love story. . .told in lush and potent prose." -- The Seattle Times

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

By D. Echeandia on June 4 2004
Format: Paperback
I don't know where to start.. this book was emotion embodied. Utterly enchanting.. frustrating, beautiful, heartbreaking, glorious.. just EMOTION. It struck my heart deeply and left a mark. I actually cried once.
If you're looking for a book that highlights the struggles of lesbians in a homophobic world, or a strictly butch/femme romance, or even a lush romance novel... Look elsewhere.
The Blue Place is gritty, cold, harsh and even painful at times. The realism is startling and it can be quite heartbreaking. But whoever said happiness could not be truly felt without sadness read this book. There's no attempt to sugarcoat the harsh reality of life in this book. Pain and agony are in full force and on display for all to read.
But that's what makes the love story beautiful. There's no perfection here.. no sweet romance whose only problem is the irritating habits of one partner. No torrid love triangle and explicit sex scenes.. It's just LOVE. Real love. Beautiful love, painful love.. love. And in writing this, Ms. Griffith has enchanted me utterly.
The Blue Place is a beautiful novel, not because of its lush scenery (though it is), its exquisite descriptions (though they are), but because it portrays humanity in a real, yet beautiful way. Julia and Aud are not perfect, nor is their relationship. But you can honestly come away from the book feeling that they really loved each other. Truly. And I don't encounter many books I can honestly say that about.
If you're interested in beauty that is not all wine and roses, but comes with pain and hardship, between two women who are not goddesses or perfect in any way, if you are interested in love, real love, human love..
I highly recommend you acquire this book.
Reality was never so real.. and beauty so beautiful.
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Format: Paperback
By page four of Nicola Griffith's The Blue Place (Avon, $23), we've
met the tall, beautiful, smart and deadly Aud Torvingen, heard about
the recurring nightmares that have her walking Atlanta streets at
midnight, ...and witnessed a house explode. Things slow down a
little after that, but's hard to overpraise the taut plotting and
broad intelligence of this thriller. ...what makes The Blue Place
stand out is its precision. You constantly feel like you're getting
the inside dope on new worlds, including those of martial arts,
woodworking, Norwegian foods and dress styles, ice hiking
and burglar alarms...
-- Paul Skenazy, Wasington Post
I'm too lazy to write a real review --but here are some
snippets, and a (virtually) spoiler-free commentary
-- and look for the author's comments on the review
continuation page at Amazon: Aud as James Bond(!))
Snapshot quotes:
Aud Torvingen, dressing to meet a new client:
I felt sharp, rich, very good looking. It pleases me to wear silk
couture and gold and pearls. I like the way it feels on my skin,
the way it fits.
And looking out into her Atlanta garden:
Two cardinals trilled liquidly at each other, bright red against
emerald green. One of the neighbour's cats slunk belly down
through the grass towards them. Snakes in fur coats, Dorothy
Parker had called them.

The book ends in graphic blood & terror. Aud gets revenge, but
puts herself in terrible jeopardy. I'll be most interested in how she
resolves her predicament in the sequel.
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Format: Paperback
I'm going to break the trend of reviews here - I did not find this book as ground-breaking as it is being made out. I personally found it lacking in a major area: the relationship and character development of and between Lore and the art dealer.
As I am an avid fan of police thrillers, The Blue Place picqued my interest at the start, but it didn't maintain the promise or momentum at all. I found it getting progressively flatter the further it went on.
There was insight into Lore's inner makeup but I found her POV superficial and peppered with braggish female machoism, which for me is a turn off. The focus on what suit she wore, or the beer she drank, is like describing the colour of kitchen tiles - this doesn't make for a good story; or how cool Lore is in times of crisis and the continual obsession with how easy it would be to kill everyone - maybe it's just me but this gets tedious after a while?
At times I wasn't sure if I were the recipient of a self-defence lecture or reading a travel guide. The narrative style kept changing. It was as if the author was trying to prove how worldly, historically savvy, and philosophically in touch her haunted character was. In some cases adding these ingredients can work but this author didn't handle it that well and the character ended up coming across as fashionable rather than realistic.
Towards the end of the book, when the two characters arrived in Norway, Lore stumbled on the notion that she was in love with the art dealer (can't remember her name). It was a bit of a 'what? huh' moment for me, because there is little evidence of feelings or emotional development between the two leading up to this realisation.
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