I don't read many novellas but this one, Train Dreams, by Denis Johnson made several "best new book" lists recently. And it got rave reviews from quite a few other writers.
Grainier's first memory of trains is of being sent on one as a young child, with a fare receipt pinned to his shirt. His destination was Fry, Idaho, but he never knew his parents or even the origin point of this trip. One older cousin said that he came from Canada and that the French language had to be whipped out of him. Another cousin said that family had sent him from Utah where he had spent his first years as a Mormon. But all his life, he had only trains and their tracks for the history of his early childhood.