By Amy Whitaker
The arrival of a new year is something I look forward to for many reasons, but perhaps one of my favourite things to do during those bizarre few days at the end of December where all purpose is suddenly lost (but, in my case, miraculously rediscovered through the following project) is to make a list of the book releases I’m most excited for in the new year. One of the best parts of being a reader for me is the anticipation of upcoming books and 2022 certainly promises to be a great year for the literary world. Here are just a few of the new releases I can’t wait to get my hands on.
First and foremost is Young Mungo, the second novel from Douglas Stuart whose Booker Prize-winning debut Shuggie Bain completely blew me away and held my heart captive for a few gloomy November days in 2020. His new novel, set in Glasgow, explores the dangerous love between two young working-class men, one a Protestant and one a Catholic. In Shuggie Bain, Stuart particularly shines in his ability to depict working-class family life and its interactions with sexual identity and masculinity. Young Mungo promises to examine very similar themes in a present-day context rather than the Thatcher era, with hopefully the same amount of compassion and lyricism. With Stuart’s debut novel being heavily autobiographical and, as he himself described it, a work of considerable catharsis, I’m very much intrigued (and unbelievably excited) to see how he’s followed it up.
Next up is Devotion, the new release from Hannah Kent. Kent wrote historical crime novel Burial Rites, which is one of the most atmospheric and genuinely chilling things I’ve ever read. Devotion is another historical novel, following two young girls who find kindred spirits in one another and make a life-changing journey from 19th century Prussia to Australia, based on real events. I’ve seen countless early reviews praising this book, in particular its hefty emotional power and exquisite prose. Most importantly, the queen herself Sarah Winman (my favourite author of all time – if you haven’t read Tin Man, drop everything and do it now) describes it as ‘a mighty impassioned cry to love and the land’ and, if anybody’s judgment is to be trusted, it’s hers.
A highly acclaimed author I haven’t read from before, Louise Erdrich, is coming out with a new book in 2022 called The Sentence which has been pitched as a ghost story set in a bookstore in Minneapolis haunted by its most annoying customer – I’m sold.
A book which is excitingly being released at the end of the month is The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont, which again has an incredible pitch that won me over instantly – a reimagining of the 11-day disappearance of Agatha Christie in 1926, told from the perspective of her husband’s mistress. It’s certainly an ambitious undertaking, but as a big Christie fan I really hope it lives up to its glorious premise.
Image: Susan Q Yin via Unsplash