How lovely can a little novel be? A novel can be lucid and daring. It can take one little accident and shatter it into a dozen pieces and look at each of those pieces as if it is a small prize. The characters could be people you see around you every day: the teenage lifeguard, the life insurance guy, the dry cleaner. And still they have big hurts– their mistakes can make a kind of poem. We Agreed to Meet Just Here would never be published by a big American house… But it is reassuring that Blackwood won a Whiting Award for this debut novel, because his prose is precious, and careful, and risky all at once. People go missing, and then reappear. It is nice to hear about it in a quiet book like this one.