If you start into this book looking for a conventional, plot-driven story, you might be disappointed. This is more like a motion picture put in words, exquisitely recording one summer day in the life of one unremarkable neighborhood in Northern England. As you watch the various residents going through their day from earliest morning until late afternoon, you also get to peek inside their hearts and minds and histories. Most of the characters are never named, but as the author gradually unveils them on this ordinary day, they become real and vivid and sometimes heartbreakingly lovable. I was especially touched by the tenderness of the old couple who had married just before the husband went off to war. I confess, I was blubbering when he came back from the war and his wife said, "There's no need to shout. I'm standing right behind you." This book is event driven rather than plot driven. The one day described here is a day that leads up to an event that all of the characters will witness. The book-long buildup to the event does get exasperating at times, so impatient readers beware.Alternating with the day's progression is a second component of the narrative. One of the witnesses to "the event" describes her life three years after that day. Uncomfortable circumstances in her present life have caused her to reflect on what she witnessed and how it has affected her life since then. Given the amazing buildup, the book's conclusion is somewhat wimpy and also sort of freaky. So don't hold your breath for a "shocking" ending. Read it for the intimacy with the characters and for the author's extraordinary powers of description.