Nicola Griffith   Stay  
Nicola Griffith  
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Nicola Griffith's work does many different things for many different readers. One thing it never fails to do is to provoke a strong reaction. Sometimes the reaction is to the prose itself, sometimes to the sexuality of the characters, sometimes to the violence that runs through all of her fiction. At the center of all this, really, is the character of Aud Torvingen, the protagonist of Stay.

Aud is highly trained in various ways of hurting people; she virtually quivers with violence, and at times is unable to trust herself to not inflict serious damage on those around her. She is, in the words of Sallie Tisdale of, "kick-ass, super-competent, cool-headed, hot-blooded, semi-legal..." She is, in short, an unlikely vehicle for a writer with serious literary, humanist ambitions.

And yet as much as Griffith's work is compared to La Femme Nikita, it is also widely acclaimed for its sensitive, lyrical prose and in fact—perhaps surprisingly—for its humanity. In many ways, Stay is the story of Aud learning to become genuinely human, to make herself vulnerable to growth and development. Of course, it also kicks ass, which poses some tricky literary dilemmas for Griffith.

In this issue of Bold Type, Griffith discusses why she sets herself up for these conundrums—which happens to cut to the core of why she writes at all.

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