With a big assist from the commenters on this post, here’s what I think I need to read. Point out everything I missed in the comments. And please let me know of anyone overrated that I shouldn’t waste my time with.
Brian Evenson. Seems like the place to start with Brian Evenson is Last Days (an endorsement that seems to be echoed in Matt Bell’s excellent essay), although I already have a copy of Fugue State, so I might just start there.
A.M. Homes. I’m not really sure where to start with her, but I found Music for Torching at a garage sale yesterday for a buck, so that’s probably going to be it.
Curtis White. At that same garage sale (actually, it was a “block sale,” I found Requiem by Curtis White, one of the American postmodernists I haven’t yet gotten to.
David Markson. Speaking of White, David Markson is a known quantity, but he should definitely be on this list.
Chris Adrian. I have yet to find anyone who doesn’t absolutely love this guy’s work. I myself was amazed by The Children’s Hospital. Looks like next I’ll go with A Better Angel, the latest story collection.
Percival Everett. This guy has been in the back of my mind for a while now. Definitely someone to try out. I was recommended to start with American Desert . . . any ideas?
Margaret Atwood. Reading the coverage of her most recent novel, I am reminded again of what a strong body of work she has put together. I should really at least get started with her. The Handmaid’s Tale is the obvious place to start, but from there where to?
Steven Millhauser. He definitely seems like someone doing good work. Is Dangerous Laughter the one to start with?
Aleksandar Hemon. Seems pretty clearly worth keeping an eye on.
Ron Currie, Jr. Although he has just a short story collection and a first novel to his name, we’ve given each very strong reviews, and he seems like an extremely promising author.