A trip across the plains over Thanksgiving reminded me how much I love Kent Haruf's books -- 1999's Plainsong and its sequel, Eventide, at least. (Benediction, the third in the sort-of series about the fictional town of Holt, seems almost like a parody.) Haruf, who now lives in Salida, grew up on the high plains of Colorado, and his words capture the beautiful starkness of that setting. Consider this from Eventide: "He wanted to think of words that would make some difference but there were none in any language he knew that were sufficient to the moment or that would change a single thing."
See also: Sixteen years after his death, no so famous novelist John Williams is finding his audience