Elmer Kelton loves his subject matter. He was born to it, after all. And if the Western is a ghetto, it is a remarkably rich ghetto populated by the likes of Edward Abbey (The Brave Cowboy), Jack Schaefer (Shane), Larry McMurtry (Lonesome Dove), and other novelists whose mortal sin, it seems, is setting their tales in open spaces rather than in the confines of the faculty lounge or city tenement. Elmer Kelton has an utter mastery of his subject; a distinctive, even arresting, point of view; and a narrative talent honed by writing for the Western pulps. His best work, The Time It Never Rained (1973), can be read as character study, regional literature, and philosophical novel: find me a navel-gazing New Yorker writer who has squeezed out a single book as rich, layered, and unsettling.
Read all the fine story here and mourn once again Kelton's passing. I kited the link from the 2blowhards blog, a frequent source of good stuff. Kelton got a lot of credit as a good writer but not as much as he should have. Guy was really great.