Everyone kept telling me to read this book and now I understand the miracle of it. The crippled historian who narrates the book is compiling his family history. In one setting we see him enduring his daily dreaded bath and in another we're in the western life of his grandmother in the 1880's. He'll write something like, "Grandmother must have thought-" and then launch into what she thought, what she said, what she felt. We do not doubt him for an instant as he essentially imagines his ancestors lives.