This is the story of an aging cobbler bereft of his own family, who finds solace taking care of the poor and desperate people who pass by his little shop. It is a morality tale that applies to any time or place where me-first obsessions overrule the better angels of human nature. Advanced apologies if the story seems too religious for some secular readers. If Tolstoy was here, he would apologize too. Well, actually he wouldn't. He had the courage of his convictions.
Plot works pretty well, though the ending suffers from "sequelitis." Lots of Christian allusions/symbolism, not very well-elucidated but not obnoxious. We listened during a family driving trip; my eight-year-old was enthralled and the adults reasonably entertained.