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The Crack Magazine

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Small Pleasures by Clare Chambers

Set in the fifties, Small Pleasures follows Jean, an unmarried newspaper journalist who lives with her reclusive, elderly mother. When her newspaper receives a letter from a woman claiming her daughter was the result of a virgin birth, Jean is assigned to investigate the story, and as she grows close to the family involved, it becomes about more than a scoop. At its best, this is a really touching story about loneliness. But the actual plot — the virgin birth — wasn’t as interesting as I thought it would be. Like journalism in the real world, Jean’s investigation is usually about following procedures to slowly arrive at an unsatisfying conclusion. Without giving anything away, the novel does build to something. Unfortunately, that something enraged me to the point where I wanted to throw the book across the room and it soured my opinion of it altogether. But if you’re into crime dramas, you may like it. A lot of people did. MG

Published by W&N

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