I've been reading this book on and off for several years (first time I read it in Portuguese...). Once in a while I get the urge to pick it up again. It happened again... lol
Storytelling, movie making, painting are all art forms. There is no right or wrong way to make art. There's no inherently proper or improper, no right or wrong, no appropriate or inappropriate way to craft artistic expression. Simak had his way. Heinlein had his way. Bach had his way. Eça de Queiroz had his way. Nick Ray had his way (Johnny Guitar...).
One of the things that still makes me uncomfortable is its naked appeal to raw emotion. As a culture we've become very postmodern and ironically self-aware.
This novels proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that great writing isn't just about writing tastefully and avoiding bloopers in current literary fashion. It's about striking a responsive chord in the reader and in that respect this book works perfectly.
Clifford D. Simak was a great writer, and had the awareness of nature and environment that lent a depth and reality to his settings and characters.