Gwendoline Riley's third novel charts the peculiar final reckoning of an elusive yet highly charged romance. American playwright Joshua and English writer Natalie share a vexed five-year history of sporadic encounters, explosive drunkenness and failed intercourse, all spliced with the occasional sad intimation of true love. After the last crushing rejection, Natalie attempts to change her life back in Manchester, to put all memories of him behind her; but when he calls unexpectedly and asks her to come and meet him in the States she knows she actually has no choice at all...They turn up, independently, in Asheville, North Carolina, a place neither of them has ever been: in the middle, it seems, of nowhere. Their unspoken, and somehow dreadful intention is to find out if there ever was anything real between them - anything, that is, apart from the Atlantic Ocean. Whilst wandering about their sequestered arena, high in the Blue Ridge Mountains, or lying together for days in their cheap hotel room, they talk about their lives - about his ex-wife and her dead family - and come to a slow, surprising understanding.
Beautifully observed and exquisitely written, Joshua Spassky poignantly explores the possibility of human connection, as these two young people try to reconcile themselves to all of life's bad endings, and finally wrest some meaning from their own mayfly existences.
Shortlisted for John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize 2007.
Gwendoline Riley was born in 1979. Her first novel, Cold Water, won a Betty Trask Award. Her second, Sick Notes, was published in 2004.