Louise Erdrich, author of The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse. I'm still surprised at how few folks seem to have read this prize-winning and reliably chart-topping writer. If you love passion, surprise, mystery, darkness, and hint of miracle, plus all the messy, imperfect complexity and grace of characters who - over the course of many books and within each novel - feel like real people you would love to meet, at least once, you simply must give Erdrich's work a try. The most approachable might be Tracks, but the favorite among my family and friends is The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse.
Susan Power, author of The Grass Dancer. Another writer who offers up gripping novels in a Native American context. Try her work. (And what I wouldn't give to share her last name...)
Walter Wangerin, author of The Book of the Dun Cow. For complex fantasy with depth that young adults and their adult friends will enjoy equally, and to provoke a rich conversation among them, try any of his work, but start with the novel indicated above. You should find him both at online stores and in your excellent neighborhood used book store.
Maile Meloy, author of Both Ways Is The Only Way I Want It. Yes, it's those brief fictions that cause you to breathe out sharply at the last period and then linger with you all day. She creates a world and rich characters in just a few pages, and she does so reliably. Check out my recent review for more...
Martha Beck, author of Steering by Starlight. Yes, she's the Oprah Show/O Magazine psychologist, and I don't always agree with her thinking, but wow can she use humor and commonsense to help you rethink how you're conducting your life. Try her.
And I'd include Camilla Lackberg, whose novel The Ice Princess makes its North American debut today, but I'm feeling fairly certain that she'll burst onto the scene with plenty of fanfare. Why? I'll tell you... (Just take a peek below.)
I need two more undersung writers to taut today: Which two would you suggest?