Catherine M. Wilson

Nicola Griffith’s Aud Trilogy

The Blue Place, Stay, & Always

The first book of Nicola Griffith’s trilogy,
The Blue Place, really pissed me off!

But I forgave her after Stay.

And by the time I finished Always I knew I was going to read everything she ever writes.

The Blue Place

The Blue Place was published in 1999. I could have sworn I read it much longer ago than that, but maybe I’m thinking of her first two novels, Ammonite and Slow River. Those are both science fiction (because strong women just aren’t believable in the real world, don’tcha know) and they are excellent, but it was The Blue Place that thoroughly thrashed me. Hard to explain what I mean by that.

Nicola’s hero — the word ‘heroine’ doesn’t do her justice — is the most amazing person I’ve ever run across in a book. Aud Torvingen is utterly unique. Smart, powerful, violent — just the kind of feminist hero that terrifies people.

This first Aud book is sometimes described as a thriller — Norwegian noir someone called it — but it is much more than that. It is a meditation on our plight, stranded as we are in this strange universe where to be different is always fraught with something or other. And where to be different gives access to ways of being that more conventional folks will never discover. I suppose they should be grateful for that.


One of the reviews of Stay calls it a “ferocious masterpiece of literary noir.” The way Aud Torvingen resolves the central problem of the novel revolutionized my thinking in some very interesting ways. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.


A review of Always calls Aud Torvingen “the sexiest action figure since James Bond.” Really? Because next to Aud, Bond is pretty boring.

Always is the perfect ending to the trilogy. It redeems everything that went before.

... and as if all of the above were not enough

Nicola Griffith’s prose is nothing less than stunning! Frankly, I’m more interested in a good story than in how it’s told, but if the telling is brilliant, so much the better. It’s the difference between being driven over a bit of rough road in a jalopy and sailing down the freeway in a Mercedes. (In case you’re in doubt, Nicola is the Mercedes.)

I am constantly amazed at what she can do with language, and all of that and more is on display in her new novel, Hild, which will be out in November, 2013.

Check out Nicola’s blog here: Ask Nicola