The town of Holt, Colo., has been dying since Haruf conjured it up in his first novel in 1984. It's a place where farmers accept less and less for their yearlings and more folks are living on food stamps. In this sequel to Haruf's moving Plainsong (a bestseller in 1999), the ties that bind Holt' s residents to land and family continue to unravel, and loneliness hangs like a pall over the high plains. The author brings ranchers and teachers from Plainsong together with newcomers, including a mentally challenged couple with two children. Their stories linger, unforgettable and stark.