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, her own Elysian Fields. 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. Confident. fresh, and completely original, Cold Water has a voice to match - whether sharp or sentimental, tender or sassy, elegant or dryly sardonic. Peopled with memorable characters and imbued with a subtle sense of longing and raw loneliness beneath the banter and whimsy, this thrilling debut is as cool and assured as Carmel herself - a funny, memorable and strangely affecting look at the way people drift into and out of each other's lives, and how they find their place in the world.