james debate
james debate

Saturday 29 January 2022

Welcome back to The Ephemeric's 2022 Hot List. This week we will have a look at the most exciting new literature and novels you'll be reading in the coming year.

best anticipated new novels literature 2022 hot list
Some good news, book sales have soared over the past couple of years. People of all ages are getting back into reading, which is just as well because there has never been more content more readily available. Meanwhile the newest range of digital devices and subscription services allow for essentially unlimited reading without having to worry about the cost or storage. Get yourself into reading and you will suddenly find yourself open to countless new stories and adventures.

So here it is: your reading list for 2022, our list of the top 10 upcoming releases from the world of literature to keep an eye on this year, starting, as always, with number 10:

10. "Black Cake" by Charmaine Wilkerson

best literature 2022 novel book black cake charmaine wilkerson

We start with Black Cake, the debut novel of Charmaine Wilkerson, a former journalist and short story author with roots in the Caribbean, now based in Italy.

In present day California, two siblings must respond to the sudden death of their mother, and the two unusual items bequeathed to them in her will: a Caribbean black cake, and a mysterious audio message. What ensues is a winding tale of secrets, betrayal and murder.

Black Cake finds itself on the reading list of many a literature pundit as we head into 2022 and has benefited from plugs by some very influential boosters. This seems set to be one of the bigger book releases of the year. 

9. "Glory" by NoViolet Bulawayo

best literature 2022 novel book glory noviolet bulawayo
The sophomore novel to a well received, award nominated debut is always a tricky beast. But you wouldn't know it from the looks of Noviolet Bulawayo's ambitious new novel, Glory.

Based on the real life events following the fall of Mugabe, Glory is set in a fantastical nation populated by intelligent animals. A ruthless, charismatic leader is deposed, leading to a scramble for power. Basically, Animal Farm in Africa.

It's certainly a passionate and ambitious piece of commentary, one which presents a perspective on a part of the world of which we ordinarily see very little. I imagine it could make quite an impact when it releases in March.

8. "The Perfect Golden Circle" by Ben Myers

best literature 2022 novel book perfect golden circle ben myers
Another sophomore novel, this time for Ben Myers, known for his well received debut The Offing

The Perfect Golden Circle is set in 1980s England, a time of economic hardship, class war and austerity for many. Over the course of a very strange summer, two rural outcasts set out in an old campervan to perpetrate an elaborate act of rebellion, forming ever more complex crop circles, and in the process spawning a cultural phenomenon.

This sounds like it will be a delight. A rural setting, UFO culture, 1980s nostalgia, all mixed in with intelligent and exhilarating historical perspective. This is coming out in May.

7. "The Anomaly" by Hervé Le Tellier

best literature 2022 novel book the anomaly herve le tellier
The only reason this one is lower down the list is that it is technically not a new novel. Hervé Le Tellier's million selling novel The Anomaly originally launched in its native French back at the tail end of 2020, but it is only now that an English translation is hitting the bookshelves.

An ambitious and original piece of work, The Anomaly is a high concept work of science fiction. An airplane full of passengers inexplicably duplicates, resulting in hundreds of people now with an identical double living the same lives as them.

It's a highly philosophical work that asks questions of the nature of identity and reality. The original French release went on to win the Prix Goncourt.

6. "Yerba Buena" by Nina LaCour

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Young girl arrives in the big city of Los Angeles looking to make it, working as a mixologist in a high-end restaurant. She meets and falls for a floral designer. It's all going so well, until the sketchy histories of both characters begin to catch up with them, and chaos ensues.

This is the plot of Yerba Buena, new novel and first foray into adult literature from Nina LaCour, an author until now best known for her work in YA fiction.

Yerba Buena promises a bit of escapism at a time when we all really need it. The food and drinks, the southern California coastline, and the dramatic, twisty narrative. This is out in May and will make for some ideal summer reading.

5. "The Candy House" by Jennifer Egan

best literature 2022 novel book candy house jennifer egan
Certainly one of the more hyped releases of 2022. The Candy House is the new novel from the Pulitzer Prize winning author Jennifer Egan

This is best kind of science fiction, the kind that is disturbingly plausible and forces you to ask questions of your values. Told in a series of interconnected stories, The Candy House imagines a world where the technology exists to record and store memories, and all the benefits and potential risks such a concept brings.

Coming out in April, The Candy House promises a very current subject matter with observations on social media, technology and our own insecurities.

4. "The Premonitions Bureau" by Sam Knight

best literature 2022 novel book premonitions bureau aberfan sam knightThe somewhat true story of a Government investigation into apparent psychic premonitions leading up to the Aberfan disaster of 1966. The Premonitions Bureau is the debut work of journalist Sam Knight.

This is the story of John Barker, the psychiatrist tasked with running this investigation, who would go on to interview hundreds who had shown apparent abilities, and attempt to determine if there was any truth to these supernatural claims.

It's one of those so crazy you can't believe it's true stories, and a must-read when it releases in May.

3. "Illuminations" by Alan Moore

best literature 2022 novel book illuminations alan moore watchmen
A rare foray into non-graphic literature from legendary comic book artist Alan MooreIlluminations is a collection of short stories, all charged with the wild imagination of one of the literary world's true originals.

Moore is best known for his work with graphic novels, notably Watchmen, V for Vendetta and, arguably the best of all Batman novels, The Killing Joke. But the quality of his writing shouldn't be underrated. Moore has often garnered acclaim on the basis of his craft, and Watchmen was even named by Time Magazine among the 100 greatest novels of the 20th Century.

When it comes to Alan Moore, you're never quite sure what to expect. What we can safely say is that it will be unique when it releases this October.

2. "How High We Go in the Dark" by Sequoia Nagamatsu

best literature 2022 novel book how high we go in the dark sequoia nagamatsuThink Cloud Atlas mixed with Station Eleven and it will give you some idea of what to expect from Sequoia Nagamatsu's debut novel. An ambitious sci-fi depiction of a world where global warming has unleashed a catastrophic ancient virus, the events of How High We Go in the Dark unfold over hundreds of years, featuring multiple characters and perspectives.

Perhaps you will feel you've had enough of virus stories? This may actually be exactly what you need. A rich vision full of hope, compassion and humanity. If How High We Go in the Dark touches a little close to home at times, it does so for the right reasons and provides reason to be inspired.

Nagamatus's debut is considered by many to be one of the year's hottest releases. It is out end of January.

1. "Sea of Tranquility" by Emily St. John Mandel

best literature 2022 novel book sea of tranquility emily st john mandel station eleven And finally, our number one most hotly anticipated novel of 2022 is Sea of Tranquility, the new novel of Emily St. John Mandel, the award winning author of Station Eleven and The Glass Hotel.

This is about as close to an "event" novel as it can get. Mandel's latest is a hugely ambitious time-hopping odyssey that explores locations as disparate as 1912 British Columbia, a black-skied cityscape of the future, and the Moon. Sea of Tranquility ponders the nature of reality, the passage of time, art, love and everything in between. 

Not to be missed, Mandel's latest novel will release April of this year.

So there you have it folks: 2022 in literature. Tune in soon for our next instalment of the Hot List, covering the essential new theatre coming up in 2022!

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