Sloan, whose debut novel, Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore explored the future of the printed word, clearly believes the traditionalist and the futurist need not be locked in combat. That may seem a little optimistic, and yet there’s something so unjaded about his story, and so plucky about Lois that I found myself captivated by its tiny dramas despite myself. Perhaps it’s that Californian can-do spirit. Or perhaps it’s just a relief to read a novel about breaking bread rather than broken humans.

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