Reading life is a marathon, not a sprint, and as soon as we pass a mile marker, the next leg of the race is upon us. That’s how I always feel when January rolls around; there’s no time to bask in the glow of last year’s books—I wrote about some of my 2021 favorites in the December 1 issue—when a new year brings new releases of its own. Here are five novels I’m particularly looking forward to getting my hands on in 2022.
To paradise by Hanya Yanagihara (Doubleday, January 11): Yanagihara’s 2015 Kirkus Prize-winning novel a small life, is one of those books I’ve recommended far and wide, but with an asterisk: “Prepare to Be Devastated.” This is an intense novelist, and our reviewer says her new 720-page novel — made up of three distinct sections set in 1893, 1993, and 2093 — is “gigantic, strange, exquisite, terrifying, and full of mystery.” Ready or not, here we go.
Glory by NoViolet Bulawayo (Viking, March 8): It’s been almost 9 years We need new names, the powerhouse debut of Zimbabwe-born novelist Bulawayo, won multiple literary awards and was a finalist for the Booker Prize. With a tip of the hat for Orwell’s animal farm† Glory is set in a fictional nation inhabited by animals that have finally escaped the yoke of the repressive dictator Old Horse, who has ruled for decades. Inspired by the fall of Robert Mugabe, it promises a poignant parable for our time.
position by Karen Joy Fowler (Putnam, March 8): I was absolutely impressed with Fowler’s latest novel, We are all completely outside of ourselveswinner of the PEN/Faulkner Award and finalist for the Booker Prize in 2013. She is back with an epic about a complex family of the 19ecentury American theater best remembered today for its problem child: John Wilkes Booth, assassin of President Abraham Lincoln. I expect rich, complicated, disturbing historical fiction – my favorite kind.
Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart (Grove Press, April 5): Few novels have broken my heart and grounded me as much as Stuart’s debut, Shuggie Baino, winner of the Booker Prize in 2020. In his new novel, the author returns to that book’s working-class Glasgow setting to introduce Mungo and James, two queer young men who fall in love despite the Protestant-Catholic divide that separates them and the violent male gang culture of the housing projects where they live. I am willing to let my heart be broken – and supported – again.
The candy house by Jennifer Egan (Scribner, April 5): I’m pretty sure Jennifer Egan can’t do anything, so a sequel to her influential 2010 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel A visit from the Goon Squad† Yes, of course. Of course, since Egan is Egan, this isn’t a traditional sequel – she calls it a “sibling novel” – but it promises to revisit some of the peripheral characters from the earlier novel and expand their stories with a scope and emotional punch akin to his predecessor .
Tom Beer is the editor in chief†