First Love is an unflinching portrait of the marriage between Neve, a writer in her thirties, and her older husband Edwyn. As Neve traces the development of their relationship and the events that led to their marriage, she tells of other loves and relationships, notably her tyrannical father and self-involved mother. Neve’s is a story of mistakes and misalliances, of helplessness and hostility, in which both husband and wife have played a part. In beautifully crafted prose and with distinct humour, Gwendoline Riley takes us into an exploration of modern love.
Gwendoline Riley was born in London in 1979. She is the author of the novels Cold Water, Sick Notes, Joshua Spassky and Opposed Positions. Her writing has won a Betty Trask Award and a Somerset Maugham Award, and has been shortlisted for the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize.
‘First Love is an exquisite and combative piece of news from nowhere – which is everywhere, too.’
Joanna Kavenna, The Guardian
‘From Turgenev’s First Love to Gwendoline Riley’s is not so very far; the same panoptic, all-too-human lurches, afflications and doubts, gorgeously exposed. Riley’s artistry continues to signal the rueful need to narrate – yet the nobility of that impulse; undetermined, impetuous, diffident – just as we live and love – with heartbreak always in wait.’