See How Small is set Austin, TX, and starts with a murder and fire that ended several lives.
That's the end of clarity as far as this book is concerned. Most of the pages--and the book seems far longer than its 224 pages--are covered with disjointed, rambling, incoherent, self-indulgent, and uninteresting reactions to the crime from a constantly shifting cast of nebulous, strange, and unintelligible people. The prose tries too hard to be literary, what passes for a plot tries too hard to be profound and meaningful, and it all ends up just being pretentious.
Based on reviews I'd read, I didn't expect to find a typical murder mystery here, but if the book isn't going to be that, it needs to be something else. I was never able to figure out exactly what the author intended that something else to be. I gained no insights into human nature. I didn't connect with the novel either as an analysis of loss and sorrow, or as an examination of the cruel and unfair nature of the universe. In fact, I didn't connect with it at all.