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The Year Ahead: 2022 in Preview

The Year Ahead: 2022 in Preview

  • The Chicago Review of Books team shares their most anticipated 2022 titles.

In a time of isolation and loss, literature keeps us connected. It also helps us to escape our reality; dream a little bigger, hope a little harder. We asked our staff and contributors to send us their most anticipated books for 2022. From experimental short stories to treasured novels in translation: There is much to look forward to this year.

Woman Running in the Mountains
By Yūko Tsushima
New York Review Books
February 22, 2022

Tsushima Yūko, daughter of the Japanese writer Dazai Osamu, was a prolific and powerful voice in Japanese writing in her own right. Woman Running in the Mountains, originally published in Japan in 1980, has been translated by Geraldine Harcourt to be released by NYRB Classics this February. It follows an unmarried pregnant woman, Odaka Takiko, as she experiences not only motherhood, but also the loneliness of our modern world, causing her to seek a deeper connection with her environment. These themes are near and dear to my heart, and only more poignant all the time. – Ian Battaglia, New Initiatives Director & Editor

Like a Sister
By Kellye Garrett
Mulholland Books
March 8, 2022

Award-winning mystery writer Kellye Garrett’s Like a Sister is a domestic suspense story for the hashtag generation. When the body of disgraced reality TV star Desiree Pierce is found on a Bronx playground, one person knows there’s more to the story, the dead woman’s estranged half-sister, Lena. But Lena will have to get to the bottom of things herself, because Desiree’s 15 minutes seem to be #caseclosed. – Lori Radar-Day, Contributor

Body Work: The Radical Power of Personal Narrative
By Melissa Febos
March 15, 2022

Febos consistently proves her skills as a memoirist. She not only succeeds at revealing herself and emotional truth, but also entertains as she does it. Body Work promises not only to delve into the intimate depths of her experiences in trauma, but also the work of writing itself. – Ian MacAllen, Contributor

Fevered Star: Volume 2
By Rebecca Roanhorse 
Gallery / Saga Press
April 19, 2022

A ship’s captain with secrets, a young man pledged to an old god, intrigues beyond counting: Black Sun, Rebecca Roanhorse’s epic fantasy inspired by the civilizations of the pre-Colombian Americas, was one of my favorite reads of 2020. The next book in the series, Fevered Star, picks up where we left off with Serapio, Xiala, and the rest, and I can’t wait to see what Roanhorse has in store. – Greer Macallister, Editor-at-Large

End of the World House
By Adrienne Celt
Simon & Schuster
April 19, 2022

After very much enjoying Adrienne Celt’s last novel, Invitation to a Bonfire, I am currently immersed in her forthcoming End of the World House. With climate crisis and global collapse long past imminent, best friends Bertie and Kate vacation in Paris for one last hoorah before Kate moves to L.A. for a new job. Like her previous work, End of the World House showcases Celt’s agile and humorous prose, as well as a knack for cutting descriptions. Celt renders our surreal daydreams—or perhaps our complacent nightmares—crystal clear. This novel is so much fun. – Aram Mrjoian, Editor-at-Large

All the Lovers in the Night
By Mieko Kawakami 
Europa Editions
May 3, 2022

Japanese literary powerhouse Kawakami Mieko is back in 2022 with the third of her novels to be collaboratively translated by Sam Bett and David Boyd, All the Lovers in the Night, originally published in Japan in 2011. Fans of her previous work, including the Akutagawa Prize winning Breasts and Eggs will be pleased to read more of Kawakami’s trademark searing and funny examinations of the female experience. – Ian Battaglia, New Initiatives Director & Editor

Taobao: Stories
Dan K. Woo
Buckrider Books
May 10, 2022

Toronto native, Dan K. Woo’s debut collection, Taobao: Stories, is fresh, surreal, subversive, and even a little magical. Written like fables, these stories look at life in modern day China from the viewpoint of young people trying to make their way, find love, and sometimes just survive in a complex and fascinating country. Told with great heart and humor, Taobao is an intriguing collection and a must-read for fans of inventive, challenging short fiction. – Dana Hansen, Contributor

Moldy Strawberries: Stories 
By Caio Fernando Abreu
Archipelago Books
May 17, 2022

I’ve only read the first two stories so far, but I haven’t come across anything (fictional) this exciting in a while. The title resonates because my refrigerator currently smells, either the leftovers from last night or three nights before. Archipelago books are usually daunting and a drag. Hopefully, this one continues to impress. – Cody Lee, Daily Editor

River of the Gods: Genius, Courage, and Betrayal in the Search for the Source of the Nile
By Candice Millard
Doubleday Book
May 17, 2022

Acclaimed, bestselling author Candice Millard has a knack for finding compelling stories within the lives of some of the giants of history, from the Amazon adventures of Teddy Roosevelt and Winston Churchill’s Boer War heroics to the desperate struggle to save the life of wounded president James Garfield. In River of the Gods: Genius, Courage, and Betrayal in the Search for the Source of the Nile, she tackles an epic story of Victorian Era exploration, imperial rivalry, and colonialism. And she introduces a trio of adventurers, including a forgotten African guide who escaped enslavement and was crucial to the success of British efforts to solve one of the great mysteries of the nineteenth century. – Dean Jobb, Contributor

The Scent of Light
By Kristjana Gunnars
Coach House Books
May 17, 2022

Any readers new to Kristjana Gunnars’ work can count on Kazim Ali’s introduction to this reissue to prepare us for the elements of fiction, autobiography, literary theory and philosophy that coalesce in her prose. When The Rose Garden was originally published in 1996, the mere idea of a book with a subtitle like Reading Marcel Proust thrilled me: a book to read about reading. I was smitten with the simple, lyrical ruminations on Kierkegaard and Cixous, being a “fickle unfaithful reader,” window shutters and obituaries, all against a backdrop of heated arguments with her lover.  This is the fourth of five short books collected in The Scent of Light; the first two will be fresh acquaintances and the last three are old friends. – Marcy McCauley, Contributor

This Time Tomorrow
By Emma Straub
Penguin Random House

May 17, 2022

Straub excels at capturing the essence of a specific place and time from Mallorca to the Hudson Valley. In doing that, she reflects back to us an image of the people we want to be. Within her sprawling cast of characters, there often is a better version of the person we want to be. Straub’s novels are a bit of fun, comfort amidst the turmoil of the pandemic. – Ian MacAllen, Contributor

By Elif Batuman
Penguin Press
May 24, 2022

With apologies to anyone who has a post-apocalyptic book coming out in 2022, my visceral bodily reaction to the Station Eleven premiere has made me swear off the genre for the foreseeable future. Instead, this year I’m resolving to engage with art that makes me laugh. Elif Batuman’s The Idiot did that for me in 2018 and I suspect her sequel Either/Or will do the same in May. Selin was good company in better times and I can’t think of anyone with whom I’d rather weather year three(?) of the pandemic. – Sara Batkie, Editor-in-Chief

Walk the Vanished Earth
By Erin Swan
May 31, 2022

Erin Swan’s Walk the Vanished Earth opens in 1873 on the grasslands of Kansas, but this isn’t a straightforward historical tale. Before we hit page 10, Swan, a first-time novelist who teaches at a public high school in New York City, has zipped away to Mars, where, in 2073, a character known as Moon reflects on a “nomadic existence” in a corner of the universe scarred by human activity. Though the shifting planets and timelines bring to mind the novels of Ursula K. Le Guin, N.K. Jemisin and David Mitchell, a glimpse at a pre-publication galley suggests that Swan has fashioned a deeply original story that reflects on America’s founding myths, the climate damage wrought by all of us, and the many unknowns of the century ahead. If her debut is anywhere near as evocative as another novel Swan’s publisher name-checks in its publicity materials—Emily St. John Mandel’s excellent 2014 novel Station Eleven—she’ll have accomplished something impressive. – Kevin Canfield, Contributor

Boys and Oil: Growing Up Gay in a Fractured Land
By Taylor Brorby
Liveright Publishing Corporation
June 7, 2022

To put it simply, Boys and Oil is my most anticipated book of 2022. In this coming-of-age memoir, Brorby reflects on growing up gay in rural North Dakota, where mining and fracking has left indelible scars upon both the land and the people that call it home. Filled with some of the most beautiful language and deepest insights on activism, love, and belonging that I’ve read in years, Boys and Oil is essential reading for anyone interested in environmentalism and the American West. – Michael Welch, CHIRBY Awards Director

By Anna Dorn
Unnamed Press
June 7, 2022

Emily doesn’t really believe in astrology, despite running a popular astrology Instagram account, but Beau’s natal chart could change her mind…Perhaps he’s the love of her life, even though the two have never met? Dawn has no girlfriend and spends her time at the local lesbian bar, scrolling through Emily’s astrology account. She’s determined to track down her son’s estranged father and get her life together. These two women’s stories converge in this dual POV novel that explores desire, love, and our social media use. – Rachel León, Contributor

The World As We Knew It: Dispatches From a Changing Climate
By Amy Brady and Tajja Isen
June 14, 2022

I’m very much looking forward to The World As We Knew It: Dispatches From a Changing Climate, edited by Amy Brady and Tajja Isen, and not only because I’m a fan of both writers. I love anthologies because they offer extra bang for the buck with multiple talented writers taking a theme and performing their magic with it. Also—and this is likely a sad secret about my attention span these days—those of us with limited time and mental bandwidth have the pleasure of reading a chapter whenever there’s time. In this collection, Brady and Isen have brought together nineteen terrific writers from around the world—another aspect that speaks to me—to share the impact that climate change has had on their lives. This is sure to be a collection I’ll want on my nightstand. – Mandana Chaffa, Editor & Senior Strategist

By Tobias Carroll
Astrophil Press
June 15, 2022

See Also

Caroll, managing editor of literary website Vol 1 Brooklyn, is a book critic and writer with a deep well of knowledge in both literary and musical arts. Caroll’s previous books include several short story collections and a deep dive into political signs in Bloosbury’s Object Lessons series. His new novel from indie publisher Astrophil Press explores the punk scene in suburban New Jersey through the lens of a band and their hometown. – Ian MacAllen, Contributor

By Ottessa Moshfegh 
Penguin Press
June 21, 2022

One of America’s most celebrated authors continues her exploration of what fiction has to offer with a further digression from the standard realist purview and into fantasy. Lapvona promises to chronicle the life of Ina, a blind midwife in a medieval village. Ina’s talent doesn’t stop at childcare, and allows her a special connection with the surrounding natural world. It’s a fascinating premise, and I’m excited to see the yarn Moshfegh is able to weave. – Ian Battaglia, New Initiatives Director & Editor

Fellowship Point
Alice Elliott Dark
Simon & Schuster
July 5, 2022

I first heard Alice Elliott Dark read an excerpt from her new novel Fellowship Point at KGB Bar three years ago. When she brought out the pages and said, “this is from my new novel,” a swish of charged air went through the room. It was the first we had heard of it. A new Alice Elliott Dark is, for her fans, a momentous occasion. And this one, Fellowship Point, an amalgam of two friends’ concealed pasts and enshrouded stories, spanning the century, promises to be as thoroughly inventive and perceptive as her pioneering stories In the Gloaming and her more recent novel Think of England. I was introduced to Polly and Agnes that late, red-lit night, and haven’t forgotten them since. – Sarah Blakley-Cartwright, Publishing Director

The Great Man Theory
By Teddy Wayne
Bloomsbury Publishing
July 12, 2022

Wayne’s previous novel, Apartment, hauntingly captures the petty rivalries of two roommates sharing a rent regulated unit in New York City. Wayne’s precise authorial voice deftly carries his tragicomedy novels. He often features protagonists who start off as Byronic hero before unraveling into merely pathetic misfits. The Great Man Theory promises another opportunity for Wayne to demonstrate his supreme storytelling skills set against the backdrop of modern political turmoil. – Ian MacAllen, Contributor

Justice for Animals: Our Collective Responsibility
By Martha Nussbaum
Simon & Schuster
August 9, 2022

Martha Nussbaum, one of the world’s foremost philosophers, considers the welfare of nonhuman animals in her forthcoming book Justice for Animals: Our Collective Responsibility. Known for her work on human flourishing, Nussbaum considers how nonhuman animals flourish in relation to each other and in relation to humans. She argues humans must remake our social and economic systems to end the suffering and enable the flourishing of animals and humans together. Given her remarkable ability to communicate complex ideas in clear and gripping ways to general audiences, Nussbaum is sure to make an important contribution to public discussions of animal welfare. – Ross Collin, Contributor

Mount Chicago 
By Adam Levin
Doubleday Books
August 9, 2022

2022 is filled with great Chicago-centric titles, and one that I’m perhaps most excited about is Adam Levin’s Mount Chicago. Following up on his well-received novel Bubblegum, Mount Chicago follows a cast of characters that include a Jewish comedian, his most devoted fan, and the mayor of Chicago following a natural disaster that strikes the city in which “the world—quite literally—caves beneath their feet.” Described as a “polyphonic tale of Chicago-style politics,” we can be sure that Levin will bring his trademark wit and inventiveness to the theme of Windy City dealings—and I for one am ready for what’s sure to be a wild ride! – Michael Welch, CHIRBY Awards Director

Elizabeth Finch 
By Julian Barnes 
August 16, 2022

Barnes’s new novel, called “a loving tribute to philosophy” by its author, Elizabeth Finch tells a story of platonic, unrequited amour in academia and, undoubtedly, will be yet another brilliant, Barnesian witness to the subtle, complex undercurrents of human life. – Ryan Asmussen, Contributor

We Deserve Monuments
By Jas Hammonds
Roaring Brook Press
November 29, 2022

We Deserve Monuments is a pull-your-heart-out-with-its-teeth novel, and I mean that in the best way possible. Jas goes there in every sense; their characters feel like real people, and so their big love, aches, and humor feel real too. I got chills multiple times reading this book. I cried more than once. I laughed a whole hell of a lot, and I swooned like crazy.

Though the prose, plot, themes, and characters are expertly executed, Avery, the protagonist, carries the voice. Queer kids, Black kids, biracial kids — and everyone else — will find so much of themselves in her. – Jen St. Jude, Managing Director

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