Slow River Paperback – Aug 20 1996
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Slow River won both the Nebula Award and the Lambda Literary Award for author Nicola Griffith. The book's near-future setting and devices place it firmly on the science fiction shelves, and the characters' matter-of-fact sexuality further label it as lesbian SF. But make no mistake, Slow River is no subgenre throwaway. Griffith's skill at weaving temporal threads through the plot bring protagonist Lore van de Oest to tragic life, and you will genuinely care about her in the end.
Born into a bioengineering family made wealthy by cleaning up after humanity, Lore leads a life of privilege and power. Riches don't bring happiness, though, and the van de Oest family hides its share of dark secrets. Lore is kidnapped, but escapes from her captors when she realizes her family isn't going to pay the ransom. Naked, alone, and wounded, she is saved by the brutally street-smart Spanner, who teaches Lore to survive by exploiting the Net (and human) weaknesses. To learn to trust, though, Lore must face her demons, one by one, until she can begin again.
Griffith's biotech-science details are accurate, and she fits them smoothly into the story in the manner of a cyberpunk master. This novel's real strength is its characters, though. The van de Oest family, Spanner, even characters who appear only briefly, are all distinct and consistent--not to mention very human. Lore herself seems so personal that Griffith's note about the story's disturbing aspects not being autobiographical was probably wise. Slow River is more than good enough to transcend genre and appeal to both queer SF readers and a more broad audience looking for an excellent character-driven SF story. --Therese Littleton
From Publishers Weekly
Set in a dystopian future, Griffith's second novel involves a woman's search for identity.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
This is the poignant and moving drama of one woman's youth which was stolen in a brutal and yet very common manner. Lore Van de Oest is one of the daughters of a wealthy family of international entrepreneurs. She is a favorite of her father and she is climbing the corporate ladder of her grandmother's empire. One day, she is kidnapped and held for ransom. She is humiliated and believes she is abandoned. She has suspected a rift between her father and her mother. Thinking she will be murdered, she desperately escapes and is found by another woman in an alley, bleeding and traumatized. Taken in by Spanner, a con artist, Lore reluctantly learns to survive against a hostile world of other con artists, gangsters, and the wiles of the idle rich from whence she sprang. She also learns piece by piece of her abuse at the hands of, she believes, her beloved father. Determined to shun all of that, she adopts a false identity and takes a job in a pollution control plant, owned by her family's empire. She falls in love with a female worker there. She makes a break from her benefactor, Spanner. She finally comes to term with her strange, broken family.Read more ›
I thought the novel was particularly rich because it dealt frankly with sexuality. It dealt clearly and truthfully with the complexity of emotion surrounding sex. In one scene Spanner, an abusive lover to Lore, tries to convince Lore that the body is only meat. However, as the novel progresses, the reader discovers that Spanners attitude is the result of a deep self loathing. Lore's self confidence allows her to see that the body is much, much, more and deserving of respect and love.
In some ways this book was rather shocking to me. Not because of the sex scenes, or the homosexuality (I thought that added infinitely to the piece), but because of the way the author transcended gender. Usually we take for granted that certain characteristics are associated with males and females, but in this book the reader sees that many of these characteristics are human- and only easier for one gender to justify (this last part is my interpretation, not something in the novel).
Slow River made me think differently, and I like that above all others things in books.
Lastly, and equally importantly, although languid at times, the book is by no means slow. The plot is engaging, and the science fiction is plausible and interesting.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
i was very disappointed in the book, and amazed that it won a nebula. the science fiction aspects are minimal and mainly related to near-future waste management methods. Read morePublished on Feb. 4 2003 by J. Vacek
Not normally a science fiction reader I felt compelled to give this book a shot after reading Nicola's book The Blue Place. Read morePublished on Oct. 21 2002 by Sandi
I am a new Nicola Griffith convert. After reading a Blue Place and Stay, I searched for more of Griffith's works. I am not usually interested in sci-fi or futuristic novels. Read morePublished on June 1 2002 by J. Koscher
This book started out interestingly enough, and I figured the plot would make it worth the read. However, after forcing myself through the story (that ended up having a very... Read morePublished on Oct. 31 2001
The main character Lore has depth, but it is almost as if the author doesn't know what to do with it. Read morePublished on Aug. 11 2001 by Tati the Reader
This is one of the most boring science fiction novels I have ever read. The story just kind of plods along. Read morePublished on Aug. 1 2001 by Escott Fleming
This book was well-written enough that I didn't trip over my eyeballs or anything, but frankly I didn't see the point. Read morePublished on Feb. 22 2001 by Ben
Nicola Griffith can write. Every word she writes has a purpose and is carefully chosen. The character development in this novel, and really, everything of hers that I've read, is... Read morePublished on Dec 19 2000 by C. Boeck
In this wonderful book, there is so much emotion explaned. Being a sci-fi novel has nothing to do with the way in which the author discribes every detail in Lores life. Read morePublished on Dec 5 2000
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