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.