I can see why this book was a National Book Award finalist - the writing is simple but affecting, and gently brings the reader along into the story and the lives of the characters. The characters are well drawn, and I liked the way the author entwined them. Originally published in 1999, this book is definitely of its time - for some reason, it mentally takes me back very easily, and seems very much of that era. Apparently there was a movie made of this book; I'd like to see it, to see how closely my mental images of the scenery and the town and the people match up. Recommended.
I'm claiming this book for the "other color" category of the Color Coded Reading Challenge, as the cover is mainly gray, as shown below.