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[Riley, Gwendoline]のFirst Love
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First Love Kindle版

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紙の本の長さ: 122ページ Word Wise: 有効 タイプセッティングの改善: 有効
Page Flip: 有効 言語: 英語
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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?


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.


  • フォーマット: Kindle版
  • ファイルサイズ: 358 KB
  • 紙の本の長さ: 122 ページ
  • 出版社: Granta Books (2017/2/2)
  • 販売: Amazon Services International, Inc.
  • 言語: 英語
  • ASIN: B01N03X2D9
  • Text-to-Speech(テキスト読み上げ機能): 有効
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星1つ で最も参考になったカスタマーレビュー (beta) (「Early Reviewer Program」のレビューが含まれている場合があります) 5つ星のうち 2.0 1件のカスタマーレビュー
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5つ星のうち 2.0 An unsettling look inside domestic violence, but this book wasn't for me unfortunately! 2017/4/23
投稿者 Julia @ Read and Live Well blog - (
形式: ハードカバー
First Love is only a short novel, at less than 200 pages, but it certainly packs a punch and leaves you with much to think about. The problem for me, however, was it left me thinking “what did I just read?” and feeling unsettled and dissatisfied. I needed some time to clarify my thoughts and feelings before writing this review, but sadly this book was a little forgettable so I never did think any more of it.

The story opens with Neve, a 33 year old writer, at the receiving end of a barrage of ugly verbal abuse from her older husband Edwyn. We subsequently go back and forth in time, with snippets of Neve’s past being injected between glimpses of her current life.

Neve had strained relationships with both her parents, having a bully as a father and a demanding mother, leaving home as soon as she could. Neve’s mother too was a victim of abusive relationships and once she was free of her second husband, to Neve she appeared quite desperate and needy. Neve tolerated her mother’s infrequent visits, although never attempted to establish any real closeness or affection between them. Neve’s friendships and casual relationships through her twenties also never had any depth or longevity. Through her twenties she struggled financially, drank too much and never found any sort of stability.

And from there she somehow ended up married to Edwyn.

Edwyn is older, preoccupied with his multiple health complaints and unforgiving of Neve’s one drunken night years earlier that he was witness to. He is simply a vile, manipulative, cruel and abusive man. Neve surprisingly appears quite passive and not particularly disturbed by the abuse. She instead tries different methods to manage his behaviour, almost as if he is a toddler that may strike out and throw a tantrum at any minute. She is never sure which side of his character she will encounter next and tries to avoid saying or doing anything that may (unjustifiably) upset him; most of the time unsuccessfully.

Let’s first talk about what I liked about this book. The writing was tight and economical; the author said a lot with only few words. The dialogue was tense and evocative in the emotion it portrayed; although to be honest you would have to be a robot not to feel something when reading the words come out of Edwyn’s mouth, it really was awful. The abuse Edwyn inflicted on Neve was very difficult, and sometimes painful, to read, and in this way the book has been brutally honestly in depicted the realities of living in an abusive relationship.

There were many problems with this book for me. For a narrative that is character-focused without a real plot to speak of, character development was lacking. Neve did have a difficult life without loving and supportive relationships and found her solace in being alone and distant from others, citing this as proof of her independence. Her avoidance of close relationships were more likely a maladaptive protective response. Once she found herself in an abusive marriage, there was opportunity for growth in her character which we didn’t see. Neve does have moments of self-reflection, but any revelations she may have don’t result in any change.

(Minor spoilers coming up in this paragraph…)

I feel some account of how (and why) she married Edwyn may have given some explanation as to why she behaved so passively as she did within the marriage, and why she stayed. She did sometimes talk of loving him, but I didn’t feel that and didn’t believe her. I do understand that many victims of domestic violence feel unable to leave the relationship; for fear, for having nowhere else to go, for being controlled and manipulated. But in this case, Neve appeared to make a conscious decision to stay in that situation for reasons of convenience. I needed stronger justification for her passive acceptance of her circumstances than that. Perhaps it was there; perhaps she was manipulated or feared into staying. Was there truly distress and anger within her, and a raging battle within her mind, that was hidden by her emotional blunting? I wanted to see some real emotion from Neve, but her decision to stay appeared just so conscious and unemotional, and financial, that I cannot see it being for any other reason.

So unfortunately for me, I did not enjoy this book. I didn’t like, understand or feel empathy for our protagonist. There was no significant character development and with that lacking, as well as no plot, I found it all a bit pointless and forgettable. I don’t feel this book has added anything useful to the domestic violence conversation and feel it is sending the wrong message about violence against women – the wrong message for both women and men.
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