Carmel McKisco is wry, volatile and full of longing: a twenty-year-old girl working nights in a Manchester dive bar. Cut off from her family, and from Tony, her carefree ex, she forges strange alliances with her customers, and daydreams, half-heartedly, about escaping to Cornwall.
Cold Water is a poignant picaresque of barmaids and barflies; eccentric individuals all somehow tethered to their past - not least Carmel herself, who is nurturing mordant fixations on both her lost love, Tony, and her washed-up adolescent hero: a singer from Macclesfield. As she spins out the days and nights of an unrelentingly rainy winter she finds herself compelled to confront her romantic preoccupations, for better or worse.
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Strikingly assured... A writer of unexpected sensibilities and uncompromising originality - Guardian
Cold Water is a thrilling pleasure... I don't think I've read such a good début in years -
Vivid and stylish and endlessly, surprisingly filled with perfect, unexpected images... a beautifully written book, utterly original and the most exciting thing to have been published this year... Fantastic - Big Issue
A truly original new voice in fiction. Her bleakly poetic first novel has an atmosphere all of its own: melancholy and profound yet shot through with the urgency of life and love -
Gwendoline Riley was born in 1979 and has published three other novels: Sick Notes, Joshua Spassky, which was shortlisted for the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and won the Somerset Maugham Award and, most recently, Opposed Positions.