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Shy Creatures

ebook / ISBN-13: 9781399602570

Price: £20

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From the Women’s Prize longlisted, British Book Award-winning, bestselling author of Small Pleasures, a new novel about love, family and the joy of freedom. Coming August 2024 – AVAILABLE TO PRE-ORDER NOW!

‘I was worried this wouldn’t be as good as the brilliant Small Pleasures, but it might be even better. Clare Chambers is a genius’ INDIA KNIGHT

‘A magnificent novel. I loved it to its bones’ EMMA STONEX

‘A lively, funny, forgiving novel’ PATRICK GALE

‘Completely absorbing’ LISSA EVANS

‘A rich and tender story of kindness and compassion’ RUTH HOGAN

In all failed relationships there is a point that passes unnoticed at the time, which can later be identified as the beginning of the decline. For Helen it was the weekend that the Hidden Man came to Westbury Park.

Croydon, 1964. Helen Hansford is in her thirties and an art therapist in a psychiatric hospital where she has been having a long love affair with Gil: a charismatic, married doctor.

One spring afternoon they receive a call about a disturbance from a derelict house not far from Helen’s home. A thirty-seven-year-old man called William Tapping, with a beard down to his waist, has been discovered along with his elderly aunt. It is clear he has been shut up in the house for decades, but when it emerges that William is a talented artist, Helen is determined to discover his story.

Shy Creatures is a life-affirming novel about all the different ways we can be confined, how ordinary lives are built of delicate layers of experience, the joy of freedom and the transformative power of kindness.



A beautiful, immersive, pitch-perfect novel
A tender, moving story.
Sarra Manning, RED, The month's best books
Shy Creatures is a magnificent novel, elegantly written, beautifully devised and radiant with treasures to surprise and delight. It is both a compelling mystery about a lonely man with a hidden past and a deeply involving study of human frailty, divided loyalties, and what it means to help someone. Clare Chambers is a writer of formidable skill and this is her best work yet, penned with such intelligence, tenderness and emotional acuity, it took my breath away. I loved it to its bones
I adored Shy Creatures and eked out this addictive treat as long as I could and now can only urge anyone with an interest in psychiatry, siblings, Croydon, buried trauma, adultery, the early 60s or simply humanity to seek it out. Once again, Clare Chambers reveals her unflinching grasp of human fallibility and eye for the resonant detail that make the reader care deeply about her characters' fates. A lively, funny, forgiving novel which I bet will do just as well as Small Pleasures
Beautiful . . . A rich and tender story of kindness and compassion and the survival of the human spirit against enormous odds
Absolutely beautiful - tender, moving, so clever about human beings and human frailty, and about love. It is also laugh out loud funny in places. As with Small Pleasures, the little telling details are brilliantly done. Clare Chambers is a genius
Shy Creatures reads easily and delightfully and yet is rich with emotional truth, and completely absorbing. I loved it, and didn't want it to end