Ron Rash is one of my favorite contemporary Southern writers. His novel Serena and his short stories Burning Bright, are very memorable and readable. One Foot in Eden, Rash's first novel, is an atmospheric tale of love, loyalty, and family ties that takes place in rural Appalachia in the 1950s. It was totally riveting - couldn't put it down! Billy and Amy Holcombe, a young married couple, try to get pregnant, but after failing to do so, Amy makes a decision that yields her a son, Isaac, but ultimately costs her more than she could have imagined.
Tobias Wolff is one of those authors where each of his works must be savored, as he is spare in words and not as prolific as some of his contemporaries. His first novel, The Barracks Thief, explores the relationships between three young paratroopers before being sent off to the Vietnam War. While narrow in breadth and short in length, Wolff shows off his ability to create flawed characters that we root for and with whom we sympathize.
I highly recommend Rash and Wolff!