Best 2022 fiction books to look forward to, from Jennifer Egan to Douglas Stuart

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would we be here without books? We are reading more fiction than ever before, as novels have proven to be a reliable escape route in the uproar of the past two years.

Fortunately, the coming year is full of new titles from some of our favorite authors, as well as introductions to some must-have new voices.

Looking to fatten your fiction reading pile? Here’s our guide to the best novels to read in the coming year.

In Hanya Yanagihara’s paradise

BOOK COVER

Seven years after her grueling mega-hit A Little Life, Hanya Yaragihara is back with another big novelty hit. Set in an alternate America across three different centuries, To Paradise explores a wealthy family in the late 1800s, the AIDS epidemic of the early 1990s, and a totalitarian and ecologically fragile future. (January 11, Picador)

Tessa Hadley’s Free Love

No one is better than Tessa Hadley at capturing the secret desire that pervades her many wonderful characters. Her latest, written in her usual crisp and captivating prose, traces a woman’s sexual awakening in 1960s London. (Jan 20, vintage)

Rachel again by Marian Keyes

Marian Keyes’ novel Rachel’s Holiday about a woman going to rehab has sold over 1.5 million copies since its publication in 1998. Expect the sequel to fly away. off the shelves, then, when it gets released this year. Rachel now has a happy and healthy life working as an addiction counselor – but an old flame returns to her life and nothing seems so certain. (February 17, Michael Joseph)

Stand by Karen Joy Fowler

Another family saga is the latest novel by the author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, but this one takes place two centuries ago during the Civil War. Based on the hapless Booth family, one of whom murdered Abraham Lincoln, Fowler offers us a historical epic that will fascinate you. (March 3, snake tail)

Career by Daisy Buchanan

Daisy Buchanan’s second novel is all about relationships – the ones we have with our work. Harri has a thankless gig in a women’s magazine; when she is sidelined, she hires the passionate young bean Imogen. They love their work… but does their work love them in return? (March 10, Sphere)

French braid by Anne Tyler

The great Anne Tyler has been writing novels for half a century and, at 80, doesn’t seem to want to stop. His follow-up to Redhead on the Side of the Road on Booker’s long list is a portrait of the Garrett family, beginning with a summer vacation in 1959 and continuing to the present day. Do not miss. (March 24, Chatto & Windus)

None of this is serious by Catherine Prasifka

A novel by a young Irish girl, set in Dublin? Inevitable comparisons to Sally Rooney await you. But Catherine Prasifka’s debut, about a group of friends trying to get into the real world after college, has more in common with the concerns of Patricia Lockwood’s No One Is Talking About This. Diving into the increasingly narrow divisions between the online and offline world, he explores the internet’s consuming influence over a generation. (April 7, Canongate)

Accompanying piece by Ali Smith

Ali Smith’s triumphant seasonal foursome ended last year with Summer, but on its heels is that “celebration of fellowship.” Think of it as a B-side of the seasonal quartet – more recent observations of our confusing world, more playful language to get lost in. (April 7, Hamish Hamilton)

Chemistry lessons by Bonnie Garmus

Meet Elizabeth Zott, who is sure to be one of the top winning protagonists of 2021. She’s a scientist turned television cook who teaches her dog to read and wants to give housewives knowledge of chemical formulas. Bonnie Garmus’ highly readable debut has already been cast for an Apple TV adaptation, produced by Brie Larson, who will play Elizabeth. (April 12, double day)

Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart

Written before the publication of his dazzling first novel, Booker-winner Shuggie Bain, Douglas Stuart’s second novel is a love story between two young men, Mungo and James, in a Glasgow housing estate in the 1990s. Mungo is Protestant and James Catholic, and their love story unfolds against a backdrop of sectarian violence as well as rigid visions of masculinity. “It’s also about how men hurt men and can also fall victim to patriarchy,” Stuart told The Standard. (April 14, Pan Macmillan)

Elizabeth Finch by Julian Barnes

Julian Barnes’ latest novel has been touted as “a loving tribute to philosophy”. A student unpacks the notebooks of his former teacher, Elizabeth Finch – a woman with unusual ideas, who changed the way her students think. At 160 pages, it’s another thin book from Barnes, but we know from his Booker-winning Sense of an Ending that this short can still be quite enjoyable. (April 14, Cap Jonathan)

The Memory Librarian and Other Dirty Computer World Stories by Janelle Monae

She sings, she plays, and now Janelle Monáe turns to writing. The first fictional film by one of our brightest pop stars will be a collection of Afro-futuristic short stories, based on the world of her 2018 album Dirty Computer. (April 19, Harper Voyager)

One day, I will amaze the world of Nina Stibbe

Nina Stibbe’s very funny novels are full of charm, and her latest brilliantly captures the biting humor of British suburban life. Through the 90s to the present day, he follows Susan from her job in a haberdashery to her job at the local university, and the ups and downs of her relationship with her husband and best friend. (April 21, Viking)

Jennifer Egan’s Candy House

A major literary event: Jennifer Egan looks back on the characters in her dazzlingly inventive book, A Visit From the Goon Squad, for this kind of sequel, on a tech entrepreneur who created software that gives you access to all your memories . (April 28, Little Brown)

People Person by Candice Carty-Williams

Candice Carty-Williams’ highly anticipated sequel to her successful Queenie debut will be with us in June. We’ll meet another unforgettable protagonist in Dimple Pennington, a lifestyle influencer whose life revolves around her phone – until a dramatic event brings her absent father and step-siblings back into her life. (April 28, trapeze)

Ruth & Pen by Emilie Pine

Her Notes to Self collection of essays was extraordinary, so the fact that Irish writer Emilie Pine has now written a novel is something exciting. Two women in Dublin in 2019 – one in an unhappy marriage, the other a teenager – both trying to figure out how to express the things they want and need. (May 5, Hamish Hamilton)

Night Crawl by Leila Mottley

Leila Mottley’s first detective novel was purchased at a 13-part auction in the US and a 9-part auction in the UK. It is based on the true story of a black woman taking a stand against a police cover-up, events that took place in Oakland, California, where Mottley is from. (May 24, Bloomsbury)

Joanna Quinn’s Whalebone Theater

There was a lot of praise early on for this debut album, which has been compared to Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle. About a young girl who can’t find any stories featuring other girls in the library, she sets out to create her own – until she and her siblings find themselves on divergent paths in the approach of war. “It’s a book that will be loved unreasonably and for life,” says author Francis Spufford. (June 2, fig tree)

What time is love? by Holly Williams

Art journalist Holly Williams ‘debut novel has already been compared to David Nicholls’ One Day, a book that made us cry and resent Anne Hathaway. Set over three different decades – the 1940s, 1960s, and 1980s – it examines how a couple’s love story might have been different depending on when it happened. (June 22, Orion)

The Rescue Man by Phoebe Luckhurst

OK, maybe we’re biased, but we think Phoebe Luckhurst is one of the funniest new novelists. Half-rom-com, half-mystery, Standard’s Features Editor’s second novel tells the story of Anya Mackie, who finds herself single, homeless and unemployed just after turning 29. Stuck in a terrible roommate, she remembers that she and her high school crush had a pact to get married if they were both single at age 30 – but it seems to have disappeared from the planet. Perfect for anyone who’s ever tried to stalk an ex on Facebook (so all of us). (July 7, Michael Joseph)

You are a mother by Meg Mason

Meg Mason’s Sorrow and Bliss was a runaway word of mouth success in 2021, and arguably one of the best books of the year. It wasn’t his first, however – it was You Be Mother, released in Australia in 2017. Now released in the UK for the first time, it follows Abi, who becomes pregnant with an Australian exchange student and then moved to Sydney to start a new life with her baby. (August 18, W&N)

Mohsin Hamid’s Last White Man

Mohsin Hamid’s latest novel begins with the line: “One morning Anders, a white man, woke up to find that he had turned a deep, unmistakable brown. The electric premise, borrowed from Kafka’s Metamorphoses, seems poised to update a classic to make it urgent and relevant. (August 11, Hamish Hamilton)

The long knives by Irvine Welsh

Ray Lennox returns in the second of Irvine Welsh’s Crime series; the first has just been adapted in series for BritBox. In it, a corrupt MP has just died a bloody death – having upset so many people, it’s hard for Ray to know where to start when it comes to suspects. If you enjoy your Scottish and juror crime dramas, this one is for you. (August 25, Cape Jonathan)

The Thursday Murder Club no. 3 by Richard Osman

The unstoppable Richard Osman has set the publishing world on fire with his cozy crime drama, the Thursday Murder Club. A third is on its way in September – next stop for world domination? (September 15, Viking)

Bournville by Jonathan Coe

Sadly, not a day at Cadbury World, the latest novel by nation state scholar Jonathan Coe traces a family in the Birmingham suburbs of Bournville from Victory Day in 1945 to the coronavirus pandemic. Coe assured readers that chocolate will be mentioned – phew. (November 3, Viking)


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