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

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

Fortunately, the coming year is full of new songs 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. If you’re a fan of non-fiction, we’ve got you covered too.

In Heaven by Hanya Yanagihara

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Seven years after her grueling mega-hit A Little Life, Hanya Yaragihara is back with another big 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 a totalitarian and ecologically fragile future. (out now, Picador)

Pre-order it here

Free Love by Tessa Hadley

No one is better than Tessa Hadley at capturing the secret desire that drives her many wondrous characters. Her latest, written in her usual crisp, absorbing prose, traces a woman’s sexual awakening in 1960s London. (out now, Vintage)

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Another Rachel by Marian Keyes

Marian Keyes’ novel Rachel’s Holiday, about a woman who goes to rehab, has sold more than 1.5 million copies since its publication in 1998. Expect the sequel to soar from shelves, then, when it is released this year. Rachel now has a happy, healthy life working as an addiction counselor – but then an old flame comes back into her life and nothing seems so sure. (out now, Michael Joseph)

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Booth by Karen Joy Fowler

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

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Career by Daisy Buchanan

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

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French braid by Anne Tyler

The great Anne Tyler has been writing novels for half a century and, at 80, shows no signs of stopping. His follow-up to Booker’s Long List Redhead on the Side of the Road 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)

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None of this is serious by Catherine Prasifka

A novel by a young Irishwoman set in Dublin? Inevitable comparisons to Sally Rooney await. 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. By delving into the increasingly narrow divisions between the online and offline world, it explores the all-consuming influence of the internet on a generation. (April 7, Canongate)

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Accompanying piece by Ali Smith

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

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Chemistry Lessons by Bonnie Garmus

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

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Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart

Written before the publication of Shuggie Bain, his Booker-winning debut novel, 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 Protestant and James Catholic, and their romance is set 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 patriarchy as well,” Stuart told Standard. (April 14, Pan Macmillan)

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Elizabeth Finch by Julian Barnes

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

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

She sings, she plays, and now Janelle Monáe is turning to writing. The fictional debut of one of our brightest pop stars will be a collection of Afrofuturist short stories, based on the world of her 2018 album Dirty Computer. (April 19, Harper Voyager)

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One Day I Will Astonish the World by Nina Stibbe

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

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Candy House by Jennifer Egan

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

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People Person by Candice Carty-Williams

Candice Carty-Williams’ highly anticipated sequel to her debut hit 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)

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Ruth & Pen by Emilie Pine

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

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Crawl the Night by Leila Mottley

Leila Mottley’s first real detective story was bought at auction at 13 in the US and 9 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)

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Joanna Quinn’s Whalebone Theater

There was a lot of praise 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 diverging paths at the Approaching War. “This is a book that will be loved unreasonably and for life,” says author Francis Spufford. (June 2, Fig Tree)

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What time is love? by Holly Williams

Arts journalist Holly Williams’ debut novel is already being compared to David Nicholls’ One Day, a book that made us cry and develop a grudge against Anne Hathaway. Set in three different decades – the 1940s, 1960s and 1980s – it examines how one couple’s love story could have been different depending on when it happened. (June 22, Orion)

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The Rescue Man by Phoebe Luckhurst

Okay, maybe we’re biased, but we think Phoebe Luckhurst is one of the funniest new novelists. Part rom-com, part mystery, Standard’s feature editor’s second novel tells the story of Anya Mackie, who finds herself single, homeless and jobless just after she turns 29. Stuck in a terrible roommate, she recalls that she and her high school Crush had a pact to get married if they were both still single at 30 – but it seems to have disappeared off the face of the planet. Perfect for anyone who’s ever tried to stalk an ex on Facebook (all of us, then). (July 7, Michel Joseph)

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You Are A Mother by Meg Mason

Meg Mason’s Sorrow and Bliss was a smash word-of-mouth hit of 2021, and arguably one of the best books of the year. It wasn’t her 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 by an Australian exchange student and then moves to Sydney to start a new life with her baby. (August 18, W&N)

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The Last White Man by Mohsin Hamid

Mohsin Hamid’s latest novel begins with the following sentence: “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 urgently relevant. (August 11, Hamish Hamilton)

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The long knives of Irvine Welsh

Ray Lennox returns in the second in Irvine Welsh’s Crime series; the first has just been adapted in series for BritBox. In it, a corrupt deputy 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 like Scottish crime and swear drama, this is the one for you. (August 25, Cape Jonathan)

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The Thursday Murder Club no. 3 by Richard Osman

Unstoppable Richard Osman set the publishing world ablaze with his cozy crime series, Thursday Murder Club. A third is on the way in September – next step in world domination? (September 15, Viking)

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Bournville by Jonathan Coe

Sadly it’s not a day at Cadbury World, the latest novel by state of the nation scholar Jonathan Coe traces a family in the Birmingham suburb of Bournville from VE Day in 1945 until the coronavirus pandemic. Coe assured readers that chocolate would be mentioned – phew. (November 3, Viking)

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