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Summary

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.

©2021 Gwendoline Riley (P)2021 Gwendoline Riley

What listeners say about My Phantoms

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Absolutely loved this book.

My Phantoms is as enjoyable a novel as I have read this year, perceptive, funny, heartbreaking, beautifully written and very well performed here. It is a short book but full of moments that will linger in the memory. As far as literature goes, this is the real stuff. I cannot wait to read more Gwendoline Riley’s work.

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Absolutely hated this book.

Solely depressing and frustrating. no likeable characters, felt like a complete waste of time. Read Well by narrator, and that's the only positive i can muster!

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Short and brutal

One of the most affecting stories I’ve ever listened to.
I’m reader and listener but not a reviewer until now.
Beautifully written and read. Totally devastating.

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Brilliant but

Best avoid if feeling depressed.
This is not a feel good book.
It is a brilliant description of 'challenging' personalities, family relationships and how fairy tale endings are fairy tales.

The desire to see one's mother happy, or at least content, resonates.

There is love here, I think, for no matter how brittle the relationships between the mother and her daughters they did not quite break.

The father not so much...

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Brilliant in its apparent simplicity

This is a short book and at first seems quite straightforward but is actually really sophisticated. The story is narrated by a woman mainly about her dysfunctional realtionship with her mother but it's really clever as it exposes a lot about the narrator herself which isn't expressed explicitly. Brilliant writing. The narration was spot on too. I very rarely listen to books more than once but I will definitely listen to this again.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-03-22

Highly recommended if you like introspective stories

The narration was superb! The nuances in the voice of Hen’s little remarks really made her come alive for me.

The writing is very delicate, paints a vivid picture of entangled family relationships from just a few details. It is subtly heart-wrenching. It’s a great outlet for processing our own relationships with parents.