50 Books We’re Looking Forward to in 2022 (Part 4)

  1. Rather slyly and on the inside track, crime writer CJ Box has quietly become one of our favourites and, like Stephen King, these days we tend to get two new books a year. Shadows Reel, the first of his 2022 books, is the 22nd novel about Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett and concerns a strange reversal (Joe’s wife gets him into trouble rather than the other way around); Treasure State, coming later in 2022, is Box’s 6th book involving Cody Hoyt).  We’re suckers for Box and we’re looking forward to both of these.
  2. We loved Mohsin Hamid’s last book, Exit West (and we loved The Reluctant Fundamentalist before that) so his latest, The Last White Man, which opens “One morning, Anders wakes to find that his skin has turned dark, his reflection a stranger to him. At first he tells only Oona, an old friend, newly a lover. Soon, reports of similar occurrences surface across the land…” has seriously piqued our interest.
  3. The latest collection of short stories by TC Boyle is due towards the tail end of 2022. Given that Boyle has written umpteen short story collections at this point and his most recent, The Relive Box, was as good as anything he has ever done, we suspect I Walk Between the Raindrops will tick all of our proverbial boxes.
  4. “When a whale washes up on one of Britain’s coasts, a fugitive community descends to claim trophies from the carcass. Some are driven by magical beliefs. Some are motivated by profit: there is a black market for everything from ambergris to whaletooth sex toys. But for others, the need goes much deeper.” Subtitled, Confessions of a Whale Scavenger, Strandings by Peter Riley, promises to be one of those intriguing slices of nonfiction a la The Museum of Whales you Will Never See and Islands of Abandonment.
  5. Pola Oloixarac’s Mona concerns a Peruvian writer on a Californian campus who gets off on marijuana and prescription drugs until she is nominated for a literary prize and finds herself in the company of other globe-trotting writers in a small Swedish village. “A wicked satire of the literary elite” by “One of Argentina’s most exciting novelists” according to the New Yorker and Esquire respectively. Colour us intrigued.
  6. “Her life feels like the plot of an exciting novel. On the other hand, why do so many novels have crazy, abandoned women in them? How does one live a life as interesting as a novel-a life worthy of becoming a novel-without becoming a crazy, abandoned woman oneself?” So runs the outline for Either / Or, the latest novel by Elif Batuman, author of Bookmunch favourite The Idiot. We loved The Idiot. Reckon we’re going to love this too.
  7. Fresh from the triumph that was Middle England, Jonathan Coe is back (next November) with a new novel called Bournville. This is a saga if ever there was one running all the way from the 1950s to now. Given what we know about the ways in which Coe gets stuck into our present predicament, expect ruminations on Empire and populism and hopefully a heartfelt cri de cœur that either helps set the wrongheaded back on the right track or at least provides a measure of solace for those of us reading novels to distract us from the despair we feel whenever we look at the country we live in.
  8. If like us you got a big old kick out of Catriona Ward‘s last novel, you’ll probably join us in expecting great things from Sundial, a stunning thriller exploring the toxicity of the mother-daughter bond, described as “A wild, twisted family gothic unlike any you’ve read before” by Paul Tremblay.
  9. We love our Faber reissues (check out what we thought of Mrs Caliban) and so They, a neglected dystopia by Kay Dick first published in the 80s, is one we are seriously looking forward to. The Paris Review calls it “a lost dystopian masterpiece”. Who are we to disagree?
  10. My kids may mock me for considering the Russians to be a serious risk to the general mental wellbeing of the West, but I’m thinking Darryl Cunningham’s book Putin’s Russia is more likely to make the case for my world view than for theirs. Stupid kids. What do they know?

Look out for Part 5 of 50 Books We’re Looking Forward to in 2022 tomorrow – featuring new books from the likes of PJ Harvey, Jarvis Cocker, Nick Cave and Kim Gordon and Sinead Gleason. 

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