First Love | Granta

  • Published: 07/09/2017
  • ISBN: 9781783783243
  • 129x20mm
  • 176 pages

First Love

Gwendoline Riley

‘A singular, devastating journey into the ungovernable reaches of the heart’ Observer


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?

Eviscerating, elegant, explosive... First Love resonates a power that is bittersweet and highly affecting

Francesca Wade, Financial Times

Exquisite... searing... we are also left with the stinging sense of having been loved...

Philly Malicka, Daily Telegraph

Compelling from the beginning. In precise, economic prose Riley conveys a sense of Edwyn and Neve's intimate relationship... An engrossing novel and Riley's writing shines through

Susannah Butter, Evening Standard

Gwendoline Riley on

Fiction | Granta 136

First Love

Gwendoline Riley

‘It must be a dreadful cross: this hot desire to join in with people who don’t want you.’