First Love

Neve is in her mid-thirties, living in London and married to an older man, Edwyn. At present they are in a place of relative peace, but past battles have left their scars. As Neve recalls the decisions that led her to this marriage, she describes other loves and other debts — her bullying father and her self-involved mother, a musician who played her, and a series of lonely flights from place to place.

Drawing us into the battleground of these relationships, Gwendoline Riley spins a story of helplessness and hostility, of mistakes and misalliances in which both husband and wife have played a part. But is this, nonetheless, also a story of love?

GWENDOLINE RILEY’s debut novel, Cold Water, was published when she was still at university and won a Betty Trask Award for first-time novelists. She is also the author of Sick NotesJoshua Spasky (which won the Somerset Maugham Award and was shortlisted for the Rhys Prize), and Opposed Positions. She teaches creative writing at Keele University in England.

“Bleakly, blackly funny… A writer at the very height of her powers, grappling and snaring her themes into a singular, devastating journey into the ungovernable reaches of the heart.” —The Observer

“Riley’s examination of human relationships is bleak, yet her vision is so expansive, her analysis so blistering, that First Love resonates a power that is bittersweet and highly affecting.” —Financial Times

“One of the UK’s most talented young authors.” —The Guardian

“She is fearless, brave enough to turn her back, to deliver her own idea of contemporary Literature, and, more importantly, because of this remarkable maturity her prose, like Marguerite Duras’, is as delicate in movement as a ballet dancer’s.” —Lee Rourke