My Phantoms is a distilled psychological tour de force from an exceptional writer. Riley has a mimic’s ear for feeble gags, absurd catchphrases and pretension. Even her punctuation is withering; rarely have exclamation marks looked so desperately cheerful, inverted commas so mocking. From minute, quotidian details — impasses, the unsaid — Riley weaves a painfully funny and acute study of disappointment, self-delusion, unbridgeable fissures and the conflicting forces of loyalty, pity, vexation and guilt. Bridget’s detachment can read uncomfortably, begging the question: how would you treat such a mother?