“Did fiction do this to me?” Philip Roth’s self-reflection serves as the starting point for an exploration of the modern family as experienced by 30-year-old novelist Aislinn Kelly. Little by little, she lets slip the details of her parents’ failed relationship before chronicling her own “difficult” childhood and the damage caused by her psychologically abusive father. Kelly copes by fleeing – first to New York, then Indianapolis – but her thoughts are dominated by former love Jim, who she hasn’t seen since they were “two children fallen in love”. The shifting, uncertain nature of human relationships – and their constant reinterpretation – is reflected in Riley’s understated prose, with moments of intense revelation thrown in like hand grenades. The author’s cautionary conclusion that “the grief of our parents will try to inhabit us” will leave the reader wondering if we can ever truly escape our inheritances.