First Love (Hardback)Gwendoline Riley (author)
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Shortlisted for the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction 2017
When we cuddle in bed at night, he says, ‘I love you so much!’ or ‘You’re such a lovely little person!’ There are pet names, too. I’m ‘little smelly puss’ before a bath, and ‘little cleany puss’ in my towel on the landing after one; in my dungarees I’m ‘you little Herbert!”…
There have been other names, of course.
What do we sacrifice of ourselves to cleave to another person?
Neve is a writer in her mid-30s married to an older man, Edwyn. For now they are in a place of relative peace, but their past battles have left scars.
As Neve recalls the decisions that led her to this marriage, she tells of other loves and other debts, from her bullying father and her self-involved mother to a musician who played her and a series of lonely flights from place to place. Drawing the reader into the battleground of her relationship, Neve spins a story of helplessness and hostility, an ongoing conflict in which both husband and wife have played a part.
But is this, nonetheless, also a story of love?
‘An unflinching portrait of a marital trade-off between intimacy and freedom’ – The FT
A precocious talent, Gwendoline Riley wrote her first novel, Cold Water, whilst still at university. An expert in the minutiae of personal relationships her other novels are: Sick Notes, Joshua Spassky (which won the 2008 Somerset Maugham Award and was shortlisted for the 2007 John Llewellyn Rhys Prize), Opposed Positions, and First Love.
Publisher: Granta Books
Number of pages: 176
Weight: 243 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 10 mm
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