copyright 2000, Scott Morris, Hill Street Press. 224 pages. Morris' first novel.

A little like The Shipping News, this novel centers around a man who is falling to pieces and just wants to be happy, dammit. A good man, not perfect, struggling struggling to figure out his place among other people who all seem happy and able to live their lives without thinking twice or a million times about easy things, things that are easy to everyone else but him.

Book features the wacky neighbor to end all wacky neighbors, gorgeous easy surprising language, and an ending that isn't anything particularly dramatic, but that way it's told had me in tears in public. Some things about the book are surprising, and some are not, and it is all told exactly the right way.