Woefully underrated authors

Several of the book sites and podcasts I follow have been talking about under-the-radar books or finding out about new authors that people aren’t really talking about. This post is my contribution. I’m only including authors who’ve written more than one non-series book that I’ve read and liked, otherwise this would just be another book recommendation post.

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Anne Brontë

Anne Brontë

Her sisters Charlotte and Emily get all the attention. As much as I love Jane Eyre, I adore both of Anne Brontë’s novels The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and Agnes Grey. Her books were full of more anger and honesty than you’d expect from Victorian literature. Her characters feel like real people you could meet, even today.

S.G. Browne

I recommend Browne’s books to readers who have off-kilter senses of humor and his novel, Fated, is a personal favorite of mine. I collect funny writers because they are so very hard to find. Like another of my favorite funny writers, Christopher Moore, Browne balanced the funny with the serious, making both all the more poignant.

Daryl Gregory

I’ve been reading Daryl Gregory since Pandemonium came out in 2008. His writing has only gotten better since. The premises of each book has been startling and original. He leaves you thinking about questions that would vex the best philosophers. His latest book, Afterparty, has appeared on John Scalzi’s blog in the Big Ideas series and I’ve seen the book reviewed more widely than any of his past books. Gregory really does deserve to be more widely read.

Karen Maitland

I love Maitland’s dark historical fiction. I first read The Owl Killers, then rushed out to find a copy of Company of Liars. So many novels in the genre omit the grittier elements of their settings, but Maitland pulls no punches. Further, she pinpoints times of crisis in her novels, crises that mean the characters have to face a change in their paradigms.

Marcel Theroux

Marcel Theroux’s novel, Far North, was recommended to me and I completely fell in love with it. Now that I’ve read Strange Bodies, I’m waiting impatiently for his next book. Like Daryl Gregory, Theroux writes terrific speculative fiction. His books are beautifully written. They bridge the gap between science fiction and literary fiction in a way that doesn’t feel like a literary writer moonlighting to show off.

A word about Anthony Marra. Last year, I read Marra’s A Constellation of Vital Phenomena. When I finished, I immediately started recommending it to all my reading friends. I pestered my library director until he read it. For months, it seemed like I was the only person talking about this book. That changed in the fall and I am so pleased. I guess he’s not under-the-radar anymore.

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