I mentioned in the What are you reading thread that I was working on Plainsong by Kent Haruf. Well, I just finished it and now I need to rave about it. Wow. It's just a beautiful beautiful book - one of those books where you really care about all the characters, and you don't want the story to end. I am going to hunt down his other books on Amazon now!
I looked at Amazon and it sounds great, and the first several reviews were starred (sp?) well!
I'll have to look into it sometime!!
If you liked it Evensong was good too (also by Kent Haruf).
Another writer who's similar (not exactly the same but they share similar themes and character development) is Mark Spragg. I really enjoyed his An Unfinished Life.