- Published: 01/04/2021
- ISBN: 9781783783267
- Granta Books
- 208 pages
Helen Grant is a mystery to her daughter. An extrovert with few friends who has sought intimacy in the wrong places; a twice-divorced mother-of-two now living alone surrounded by her memories, Helen (known to her acquaintances as ‘Hen’) has always haunted Bridget.
Now, Bridget is an academic in her forties. She sees Helen once a year, and considers the problem to be contained. As she looks back on their tumultuous relationship – the performances and small deceptions – she tries to reckon with the cruelties inflicted on both sides. But when Helen makes it clear that she wants more, it seems an old struggle will have to be replayed.
From the prize-winning author of First Love, My Phantoms is a bold, heart-stopping portrayal of a failed familial bond, which brings humour, subtlety and new life to the difficult terrain of mothers and daughters.
What a phenomenal ear she has, and how remorselessly funny she is - My Phantoms is unmissably good
Kevin Barry, author of, Night Boat to Tangier
'My Phantoms is the funniest and bleakest book I have read in a long time. It's also the most moving - unexpectedly, perhaps, as it sets about capturing the awful comedy of a particularly English kind of sourness: one that takes perverse delight in disappointment and calamity. Gwendoline Riley's talent for making characters live, and her skill for identifying the essential moment, word or gesture, is immense'
Chris Power, author of MOTHERS
Devastated by this novel. Gwendoline Riley can draw character like nobody else. The weight each pristine, witty sentence carries! This is life, its aches, its silences, its love, what is carried and left unsaid. Her prose is so sharp you could cut yourself on it
From the Same Author
‘A singular, devastating journey into the ungovernable reaches of the heart’ Observer
SHORTLISTED FOR THE BAILEYS WOMEN’S PRIZE FOR FICTION 2017
Neve is a writer in her mid-30s married to an older man, Edwyn. For now they are in a place of relative peace, but their past battles have left scars. As Neve recalls the decisions that led her to this marriage, she tells of other loves and other debts, from her bullying father and her self-involved mother to a musician who played her and a series of lonely flights from place to place.
Drawing the reader into the battleground of her relationship, Neve spins a story of helplessness and hostility, an ongoing conflict in which both husband and wife have played a part. But is this, nonetheless, also a story of love?
Gwendoline Riley on Granta.com
Fiction | Granta 154
‘I’m not sure I even thought of him as a person, really. He was more just this – phenomenon.’
Five Things Right Now | Granta 154
Gwendoline Riley | Five Things Right Now
Gwendoline Riley on Caspar David Friedrich, sketching and Chekhov.
Fiction | Granta 136
‘It must be a dreadful cross: this hot desire to join in with people who don’t want you.’