The best fiction books to look forward to in 2022, from Jennifer Egan to Douglas Stuart

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Our guide to the best fiction arriving in 2022  ( )
Our guide to the best fiction arriving in 2022 ( )

Where would we be without books? We’re reading more fiction than ever, as novels proved to be a trusty escape in the tumult of the past two years.

Happily, the coming year is full of new titles from some of our favourite authors, plus introductions to unmissable new voices.

Looking to fatten your fiction reading pile? Here’s our guide to the best novels to read in the coming year. If you’re a non-fiction fan, we’ve got you covered too.

To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara

 (BOOK COVER)
(BOOK COVER)

Seven years after her gruelling mega-hit A Little Life, Hanya Yaragihara is back with another chunky doorstop of a novel. 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 90s, and an ecologically fragile, totalitarian future. (Jan 11, Picador)

Pre-order it here

Free Love by Tessa Hadley

No one is better than Tessa Hadley at capturing the secret longing that presides within her many wonderful characters. Her latest, written in her usual crisp, absorbing prose, charts the sexual awakening of one woman in 1960s London. (Jan 20, Vintage)

Pre-order it here

Again Rachel by Marian Keyes

Marian Keyes’ novel Rachel’s Holiday, about a woman who goes to rehab, has sold over 1.5 million copies since it was published in 1998. Expect the sequel to fly off the shelves, then, when it’s published this year. Rachel now has a happy and healthy life working as an addiction counsellor - but then an old flame walks back into her life and nothing seems so certain. (Feb 17, Michael Joseph)

Pre-order it here

Booth by Karen Joy Fowler

The latest novel from the author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves is another family saga, but this one takes place two centuries ago over the course of the American Civil War. Based on the ill-fated Booth family, one of whom assassinated Abraham Lincoln, Fowler brings us a sweeping historical epic that will have you riveted. (March 3, Serpent’s Tail)

Pre-order it here

Careering by Daisy Buchanan

The second novel from Daisy Buchanan is all about relationships - the ones we have with our jobs. Harri has a thankless gig at a women’s magazine; when she’s sidelined, she hires young keen bean Imogen. They love their jobs… but do their jobs love them back? (March 10, Sphere)

Pre-order it here

French Braid by Anne Tyler

The great Anne Tyler has been writing novels for half a century and, at the age of 80, shows no signs of stopping. Her follow-up to the Booker longlisted Redhead on the Side of the Road is a portrait of the Garrett family, beginning with a summer holiday in 1959 and going right through to the present day. Not to be missed. (March 24, Chatto & Windus)

Pre-order it here

None of this is Serious by Catherine Prasifka

A novel by a young Irish woman, set in Dublin? Inevitable Sally Rooney comparisons await. But Catherine Prasifka’s debut, about a group of friends trying to launch themselves into the real world after university, has more in common with the concerns of Patricia Lockwood’s No One Is Talking About This. Delving into the shrinking divisions between the online and offline world, it explores the all-consuming influence of the internet on a generation. (April 7, Canongate)

Pre-order it here

Companion Piece by Ali Smith

Ali Smith’s triumphant seasonal quartet concluded last year with Summer, but hot on its heels is this “celebration of companionship”. Think of it as a B-side to the seasonal quartet - more up-to-the-minute observations of our confusing world, more playful language to get lost in. (April 7, Hamish Hamilton)

Pre-order it here

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

Meet Elizabeth Zott, bound to be one of the most winning protagonists of 2021. She’s a scientist turned TV cook, who is teaching her dog how to read and wants to empower housewives with knowledge of chemistry formulas. Bonnie Garmus’s highly readable debut has already been snapped up for an adaptation by Apple TV, exec-produced by Brie Larson, who will star as Elizabeth. (April 12, Doubleday)

Pre-order it here

Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart

Written before his blistering, Booker-winning debut Shuggie Bain was published, Douglas Stuart’s second novel is a love story between two young men, Mungo and James, on a Glasgow housing estate in the 1990s. Mungo is a Protestant and James a Catholic, and their love story takes place against a backdrop of sectarian violence as well as rigid views of masculinity. “It’s also about how men hurt men and can be victims of a patriarchy too,” Stuart told the Standard. (April 14, Pan Macmillan)

Pre-order it here

Elizabeth Finch by Julian Barnes

The latest novel from Julian Barnes has been billed as “a loving tribute to philosophy”. A student unpacks the notebooks of his old teacher, Elizabeth Finch - a woman who had unusual ideas, who changed the way her students thought. At 160 pages, it’s another slender book from Barnes, but we know from his Booker-winning Sense of an Ending that short can still be very sweet indeed. (April 14, Jonathan Cape)

Pre-order it here

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

She sings, she acts, and now Janelle Monáe is turning her hand to writing. The fiction debut from one of our most brilliant pop stars will be a collection of Afrofuturistic short stories, based on the world of her 2018 album Dirty Computer. (April 19, Harper Voyager)

Pre-order it here

One Day I Shall Astonish the World by Nina Stibbe

Nina Stibbe’s very funny novels are full of charm, and her latest brilliantly captures the mordant humour of British suburban life. Through the 90s to the present day, it follows Susan from her job in a haberdashery shop to working at the local university, and the ebbs and flows of her relationships with her husband and best friend. (April 21, Viking)

Pre-order it here

The Candy House by Jennifer Egan

A major literary event: Jennifer Egan is returning to characters from her dazzlingly inventive Pulitzer Prize-winning book A Visit From the Goon Squad for this sort-of sequel, about a tech entrepreneur who has created software that gives you access to all your memories. (April 28, Little Brown)

Pre-order it here

People Person by Candice Carty-Williams

Candice Carty-Williams’ highly anticipated follow-up to her smash hit debut Queenie will be with us in April. 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 half-siblings back into her life. (April 28, Trapeze)

Pre-order it here

Ruth & Pen by Emilie Pine

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

Pre-order it here

Night Crawling by Leila Mottley

Leila Mottley’s debut true crime novel was bought in a 13-way auction in the US and a 9-way auction in the UK. It’s based on the real 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)

Pre-order it here

The Whalebone Theatre by Joanna Quinn

There’s been lots of early praise for this debut, 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 make her own - until she and her siblings end up on divergent paths as war approaches. “This is a book that will be loved unreasonably and life-long,” says author Francis Spufford. (June 2, Fig Tree)

Pre-order it here

What Time is Love? by Holly Williams

The debut novel from arts journalist Holly Williams is already being compared to David Nicholls’ One Day, a book that made us both sob and develop a grudge against Anne Hathaway. Set in three different decades - the 1940s, the 1960s and the 1980s - it looks at how one couple’s love story might have been different depending on when it happened. (June 22, Orion)

Pre-order it here

The Back Up Man by Phoebe Luckhurst

OK maybe we’re biased, but we think Phoebe Luckhurst is one of the funniest new novelists out there. Part rom-com, part mystery, the second novel from the Standard’s Features Editor tells the story of Anya Mackie, who finds herself single, homeless and jobless just after turning 29. Stuck in a terrible flatshare, she remembers that she and her high school crush had a pact to get married if they were both still single at 30 - but he seems to have disappeared off the face of the planet. Perfect for anyone who has ever attempted to stalk an ex on Facebook (all of us, then). (July 7, Michael Joseph)

Pre-order it here

You Be Mother by Meg Mason

Meg Mason’s Sorrow and Bliss was a runaway word-of-mouth success in 2021, and undoubtedly one of the best books of the year. It wasn’t her first, though - that was You Be Mother, published in Australia in 2017. Now published in the UK for the first time, it follows Abi, who gets pregnant by an Australian exchange student and subsequently moves to Sydney to start a new life with her baby. (Aug 18, W&N)

Pre-order it here

The Last White Man by Mohsin Hamid

Mohsin Hamid’s latest novel begins with the sentence: “One morning Anders, a white man, woke up to find he had turned a deep and undeniable brown.” The electric premise, borrowed from Kafka’s Metamorphoses, looks set to update a classic to make it urgently relevant. (Aug 11, Hamish Hamilton)

Pre-order it here

The Long Knives by Irvine Welsh

Ray Lennox returns in the second in Irvine Welsh’s Crime series; the first has just been adapted into a series for BritBox. In this one, a corrupt MP has just died a gory death - having upset so many people, it’s difficult for Ray to know where to start when it comes to suspects. If you like your crime dramas Scottish and sweary, this one’s for you. (Aug 25, Jonathan Cape)

Pre-order it here

The Thursday Murder Club no. 3 by Richard Osman

Unstoppable Richard Osman has set the publishing world alight with his cosy crime series, the Thursday Murder Club. A third is on its way in September - next stop world domination? (Sept 15, Viking)

Pre-order it here

Bournville by Jonathan Coe

Sadly not about a day out at Cadbury World, the latest novel from state-of-the-nation specialist Jonathan Coe charts one family in the Birmingham suburb of Bournville from VE Day in 1945 up to the coronavirus pandemic. Coe has assured readers that chocolate will be mentioned - phew. (Nov 3, Viking)

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