The Last White Man by Mohsin Hamid
Our most beloved literary novelists will be back in 2022. This is London in the 1960s. Get Free Love Tessa Hadley, Cape January: The new spirit of sexual libertiy is transforming the married life.
Written once again in ‘real time’, Companion Piece by Ali Smith (Hamish Hamilton, April) is billed as a ‘coda’ to her much-lauded Seasonal Quartet. Look out, too, for Kamila Shamsie’s Best Of Friends(Bloomsbury: October), which follows two friends, from Karachi’s school days to their stellar careers in London. Their lives become tangled up by ghosts of the past.
Julian Barnes will be back with us in April Elizabeth Finch (Jonathan Cape), a singular tale about one man’s fascination with his enigmatic teacher — and Julian the Apostate. Mohsin Haimid (author, Booker, Folio Prize-shortlisted Exit West) will be back in August The Last White Man (Hamish Hamilton), about unsettling transformations, loss, love and rediscovery that’s likely to earn its author more award nods.
Isabel Allende novels are always enjoyable. Violeta(Bloomsbury January,) A typically epic story about the life and times of one woman through 100 years worth of turmoil. Anne Tyler fans will enjoy this book. French Braid(Chatto March), A family story that spans the 50s through the present.
Glory (Chatto, April), by the Booker-shortlisted Zimbabwean novelist NoViolet Bulawayo, is inspired by the fall of Robert Mugabe, while Michelle de Kretser, arguably Australia’s finest novelist, reckons to electrifying effect with the evils of misogyny, ageism and racism in Scary Monsters (Allen & Unwin, January).
Julie Otsuka’s Swimmers
And you can expect Julie Otsuka’s The Swimmers (Fig Tree February) To make waves in prize season: An unforgettable novel about mother and daughter by a writer with spellbinding talent.
There’s plenty coming this way from America. Louise Erdrich will be returning in January The Sentence(Corsair), an enthralling pandemic-era ghost story set in a bookstore. It promises to both be funny and deep.One or both by Elif Batuman (Cape, May), the sequel to Batuman’s Pulitzer Prize-nominated The IdiotThe, is an enchanting, intelligent, and totally idiosyncratic view of art, life, and everything in between.
Lapvona (Cape, June) by the Booker-shortlisted Ottessa Moshfegh is likely to out-weird most things published next year — set in a medieval fiefdom, could it be a work of genius, too?
MenSandra Newman (Granta June), multi-award winning artist, imagines what would happen in a world that has seen all of the male sex mysteriously disappear.
Jennifer Egan is perhaps still best known for 2011’s The Candy House – A Visit from The Goon Squad (Corsair, April) is described as its ‘sibling novel’, and asks what happens when our memories no longer belong to us.
Sheila Heti’s fans include Sally Rooney and Rachel Cusk; Pure color (Harvill Secker, February) is billed as ‘a contemporary bible, an atlas of feeling, and an absurdly funny guide to the terrific (and terrible) things about being alive’.
Let’s Take My Hand Dolen Perkins Valdez, the bestseller (Phoenix May), takes her inspiration from a classic U.S. legal case. A black nurse makes an astonishing discovery about two girls she is caring for.
CRIME and THRILLERS
Former Archers scriptwriter Janice Hallett has been heralded as an ‘Agatha Christie for the 21st century’. The Twyford Code (Viper, January) is an irresistible-sounding mystery featuring an Enid Blyton-inspired children’s author.
Sarah Vaughan – Reputation
Is there something that happened to apartment number 3? It was creepy and twistyApartment in ParisLucy Foley (HarperCollins – March) keeps you guessing until the end. Notes on an Execution This is Danya Kukafka’s second novel (Phoenix February), the author of the international bestsellerSnow Girl. The focus here isn’t Ansel, a death row killer awaiting execution, but three women linked to him and each other.
Reputation (Simon & Schuster, March) is the new mystery from Anatomy Of A Scandal author Sarah Vaughan. Emma, an MP with high profile is launches a campaign for women to be protected from online bullying. What happens when she is convicted of murder? Catriona Ward is following the hit-hitThe Last House in Needless Street With Sundial(Viper March, a dark and disturbing tale about toxic mother-daughter bonds.
Und last, but certainly not least Anything that gets you through the nightCharlie Higson returns to adult fiction with “Little Brown, February”. It is set on Corfu island, a sun-soaked place. The story dives beneath the Mediterranean paradise’s surface.
Prize-winning poet Honorée Fanonne Jeffers has already earned comparisons to Toni Morrison for W.E.B Du Bois’ Love Songs (4th Estate, January): a sweeping, multi-generational saga that moves from the colonial slave trade to the present day, it’s already been an Oprah Book Club pick and a New York Times bestseller.
Julia May Jonas’s Vladimir
This is the subject of a sixteen-way bidding battle Lessons In ChemistryBonnie Garmus introduces Elizabeth Zott, a 1960s television cook and scientist. Nigella Lawson leads the cheers.
Also the subject of heated auctions were Claire Kohda’sFemale Eating (Virago, March) — expect a literary, millennial twist on the vampire novel — and Maddie Mortimer’s Maps Of Our Spectacular Bodies(Picador March), an original, heartbreaking novel which explores the effects of terminal illness from the perspective of a dying mom.
There’s no chance that Julia May Jonas’s darkly funny Vladimir (Picador, May) will slip under the radar: featuring an English professor facing allegations of inappropriate conduct, it ‘maps the personal and political minefield of our current moment’.
Charmaine Wilkerson’s Black Cake One of the most eagerly awaited debuts is Michael Joseph (February). Spanning 60 years in the life of one Caribbean/American family, and beginning when estranged siblings are united by a puzzling inheritance, it’s also set to be a major, Oprah- produced TV series.
It’s also possible to generate excitement Nightcrawling Leila Mottley, Bloomsbury June), which focuses on Kiara, a black teenager sex worker. Mottley, just 17 years old when it was inspired by an actual police scandal.
Slightly less fanfare, but a still considerable buzz, surrounds Jo Browning Wroe’sIt’s a terrible kind of kindness (Faber, January).
An intensely moving story set in the wake of the Aberfan disaster, it’s set to be one of the more surprising hits of the year.
It was built in the 16th Century. The Amazing Jill Dawson (Sceptre in July) will tell a chilling tale about witchcraft and persecution by one of our best and most absorbing storytellers.
Moving forward two centuries, Alex Preston’s atmospheric Winchelsea (Canongate, February) introduces us to Sussex smuggler’s daughter Goody, who embarks on a perilous quest for justice after her father is murdered.
In 2022, theatres will be a popular trend. Theatre of Marvels Lianne Dillsworth (Hutchinson Heinemann – April) tells Zillah’s story, who was a mixed race woman that stepped on the Victorian-era West End boards. The Whalebone Theatre by Joanna Quinn (Fig Tree, June) opens in 1928 when 12-year-old Cristabel decides to turn a washed-up whale’s skeleton into a spectacular open-air venue.
Have a great time reading!
Justin Webb, Penguin February: The Gift of A Radio
THE BEST NONFICTION
Radio: The Gift of a Radio
Justin Webb February, (Penguin).
In this unself-pitying memoir, Radio 4 Today presenter Webb describes growing up in the 1970s with his posh-but-poor, cannabis-growing mother and a stepfather diagnosed by a doctor as ‘stark, staring mad’. Webb never met his biological father — BBC newsreader Peter Woods — although his mum did point him out on TV.
Bullied at his ‘lawless’ Quaker boarding school, Webb believes only his size and skill at rugby — and his love of radio — enabled him to cope.
A Day in April
Jenni Haicks (Seven Dials), March
Twenty two years later, a mother who lost both her daughters, 19-year-old Sarah and 15-year-old Vicki, in the 1989 Hillsborough disaster looks back at the tragedy — and long battle for justice — that has shaped the rest of her life.
The Palace Papers
Tina Brown April, (Penguin)
Tina Brown, 25, was editing Tatler at the time Charles and Diana met. She and her staff moved around in the same circles, grabbing all the details. Now she explores how the Royal Family has survived since Diana’s death.
Every family has their own story
Julia Samuel (Penguin Life April
The Guinness Family was 61 years old and the psychotherapist, who is now 61, became good friends of Princess Diana.
She has written several books about grief and changes. Now she offers insights into family dynamics and the aftermaths of loss and love.
Robert Hardman (Macmillan), Queen of Our Times March
Queen of Our Times
Robert Hardman (Macmillan), March
For the 70th year of the Queen’s reign, royal expert Robert Hardman has written the definitive biography of Elizabeth II, including new interviews with world leaders. Given access to previously unseen papers, Hardman delves deep into the enigma of a woman who is ‘shy but with a steely self-confidence . . . devout, indulgent, outwardly reserved, inwardly passionate, unsentimental, inquisitive, young at heart and committed to the future’. This is a woman who sat stoically alone at her husband’s funeral, then mustered the strength to tell leaders at COP26 that this was their chance to be ‘written in history books yet to be printed’.
Right On The Tenth
Delia Ephron (Penguin), April
Delia Ephron struggled to cope with the ‘sadmin’ after her husband of 33 years died of cancer in 2015. Triggered by frustrated attempts to cancel his landline, the screenwriter of You’ve Got Mail wrote an article about the inhumanity of customer service.
In response — as if from one of her own movie scripts — she received a letter from a man she had dated 50 years earlier.Further correspondence revealed he had also been widowed and the pair were caught up in a whirlwind romance when Ephron was diagnosed with leukaemia.
This memoir is based on her letters, emails, and text messages between 2015’s bereavement and 2018’s beginning of her remission.
Ronnie Spector’s “Be My Baby” March by Macmillan
Take care of my baby
by Ronnie Spector (Macmillan) March
The ‘original bad girl of rock’n’roll’ grew up dressing tough and singing loudly to scare away bullies. However, she was married to one. This traumatic memoir describes how her violent husband and producer Phil Spector controlled her during their seven years of marriage — even threatening to hire a hitman to kill her. After turning to alcohol, she fled the scene, naked. John Lennon took her to the studio and she sang her way into sobriety.
Retired in the Day
Melvyn Brangg (Sceptre), May
He is now in his 80s and has just published his first book. The memoir looks back on the time he spent growing up in Cumbria and how he was expected to go to school when a teenager.
He also discusses the horrific breakdown he went through at age 13, when he had terrifying out-of body experiences.
After reading, he was able to recover and went on to become one of the first Grammar School boys from working classes to visit Oxford.