I have a pile of Connie Willis books to get through and chose this slim volume as my introduction to a well-reviewed author. It has some cute characters and a restrained level of humour; the story is particularly notable for Bult the acquisitive and pedantic alien that levies innumerable petty fines on two scientists surveilling his home-world, spending his ill-gotten gains on gaudy and impractical tat.
The pacing is a little slow, but other reviewers who claim that nothing happens must have read a different book; there are moments of love, longing, peril, desperation and discovery, even if there is a good deal of plodding around. This is a nicely-built world and one only wishes that the characters were travelling through it more purposefully, as they tend to meander.
Not a bad introduction to an author, and if this is the least recommended of her work, then I can only look forward to reading more.