The U.S. debut of leading U.K. author David Szalay, named one of The Daily Telegraph's twenty best British novelists under forty
James is a man with a checkered past—sporadic entrepreneur, one-time film producer, almost a dot-com millionaire—now alone in a flat in Bloomsbury, running a shady horse-racing-tips operation. Katherine is a manager at a luxury hotel, a job she'd intended to leave years ago, and is separated from her husband. The novel unfolds in 2006, at the end of the money-for-nothing years, as a chance meeting leads to an awkward tryst and James tries to make sense of a relationship where "no" means "maybe" and a "yes" can never be taken for granted.
David Szalay builds a novel of immense resonance as he cycles though perspectives that add layers of depth to the hesitations, missteps, and tensions as James tries to win Katherine. James's other pursuit is money, and Spring follows his investments and schemes, from a half share in a thoroughbred to a suit-and-tie day job he's taken to pay the bills. Spring is a sharply tuned novel so nuanced and precise in its psychology that it establishes Szalay as a major talent.
If you've ever wondered what two people were thinking when they became a couple, wonder no more. Award-winning British novelist Szalay (London and the South-East) parses a romantic relationship with exquisite and excruciating attention to subterranean emotions. James, whose entrepreneurial streak caused him to skip university and, with money from a food franchise, make his mark in the film business, rode the dot-com boom to its inevitable failure. He now depends on a horseracing scheme to bolster his once palatial, currently more ordinary, lifestyle. Katherine works at a posh hotel where she intends to learn the ropes and open her own establishment, and is rebounding from an unsatisfying marriage to a cheating husband. After meeting at a wedding, they begin a relationship rife with incredible awkwardness, missed signals, and misinterpretations as well as dazzling promise their sexual relationship marked with similar highs and lows. Szalay's insights into the perspectives of both sexes illuminate the complexity and fragility of romantic coupling. His knowing eye and exacting prose ("Their weekend together had been pared down to the pathetic rind of Sunday evening") bring perspicacity to the complications of love.