Hortense Calisher was an American writer of fiction.

Calisher involved her closely investigated, penetrating characters in complicated plotlines that unfold with shocks and surprises in allusive, nuanced language with a distinctively elegiac voice, sometimes compared with Eudora Welty, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, and Henry James. Critics generally considered Calisher a type of neo-realist and often both condemned and praised for her extensive explorations of characters and their social worlds. She was definitely at odds with the prevailing writing style of minimalism that characterized fiction writing in the 1970s and 1980s and that emphasized a sparse, non-romantic style with no room for expressionism or romanticism. As an anti-minimalist, Calisher was admired for her elliptical style in which more is hinted at than stated, and she was also praised as a social realist and critic in the vein of Honore Balzac and Edith Wharton.