The regeneration novel. Where once Molly Barton agonised at the plight of the millworker’s family, Riley gives us bar-maiden Carmel McKisco…indifferent, unattached, keen-eyed…in flight not from the shame of poverty but perhaps the pointlessness of prosperity. Welcome to the urban sublime, as academics have come to call it, where the light caught in meanwhile spaces is as a chip of ice in the heart of a sulking girl.