The Train of Small Mercies - David Rowell
This review is for the uncorrected proof of the book (scheduled to be released in October) which I won on Goodreads.

It was an interesting premise: one day in life of five unrelated people/families, and it just happens to be the day that Senator Robert Kennedy's funeral train passes through their town. The story is told a little bit at a time, jumping around from one setting to another, and back as the day progressed. This technique gave the story unity which would have been absent if it had been told in a more linear manner; it mirrored how events like this bring us together as Americans in our feelings of outrage and grief, regardless of what our political bent is.

Mr. Rowell gave us just enough of a peek into the lives of these people to keep the central story moving, and once the sun set on this day of mourning and the train arrived in Washington, the purpose of the story ended, giving us a beautiful snapshot of a day in the life of this country in 1968.

Mr. Rowell created immensely interesting and engaging characters, and it seems a shame that their stories were left unfinished. Perhaps he will treat The Train of Small Mercies as a launch pad for full length novels which will further develop these characters and their histories.