With two million copies sold in Germany to date, and bought by thirty-five publishers around the world, Love Virtually by Austrian novelist Daniel Glattauer, is well on the way to becoming a global publishing phenomenon. It's a thoroughly modern epistolary novel with a difference: its protagonists, Emmi Rothner and Leo Leike, communicate exclusively by e-mail.
They "meet" when Emmi mistakenly sends an e-mail to Leo's inbox. The romance that follows allows them to live out a shared secret life far removed from their day-to-day existences. But to what extent does it rely on fantasy and escapism, and will it survive a real-life meeting?
The problem is - Emmi (a modern Madame Bovary) is married -
Have email, Facebook and texting created a generation of isolated young people who prefer to communicate remotely - who may be in fact afraid to engage in face to face contact to find love? Is it possible to fall in love with someone you've never met? Does a virtual affair 'count' as adultery? What are the implications of the fact that we can pretend to be anyone we want in cyberspace?
Every Seventh Wave sees Leo returning from Boston having cut-off all email communication with Emmi.
Emmi's husband had found out about the relationship and this revelation caused their relationship to implode. After repeated attempts to contact him, Emmi finally receives an answer from Leo.
But it doesn't come with good news.
Can the internet lovers rekindle their romance? Can love survive though emails alone?
And will they ever meet?
Producer: Clive Brill
A Pacificus production for BBC Radio 4.