With that caveat in mind, let me mention two (relatively recent) novels that I think are so wonderful that we should have parades for their authors.
The first is Anita Desai's Clear Light of Day, a heartbreakingly beautiful about memory, loss, and the love of family. The paragraph near the end of the book that contains the title phrase is one of the loveliest and most memorable I know. I have read the book several times just to get to that gentle epiphany again, and to feel the full warmth and sweetness of it.
It's generaly acknowledged, I think, that War and Peace is the greatest historical novel ever written. Well, then, the second greatest is George Garrett's The Succession. And I totally mean that. That there aren't ten copies of this book in every bookstore in the country is a source of grief to me. The book is just magnificent, a full and rich evocation of a full and rich world, that of the Elizabethans.