My 5 Most Anticipated Book Releases for Late 2021 & 2022

I. To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara

I loved Hanya Yanagihara’s previous books – her heart-wrenching A Little Life [2015] and fantastical The People in the Trees [2013]. So, naturally, I am looking forward to her next book titled To Paradise. The story here is said to span three centuries and here is what Goodreads/publisher has to say about it (my emphasis in bold): “In an alternate version of 1893 America, New York is part of the Free States, where people may live and love whomever they please (or so it seems). The fragile young scion of a distinguished family resists betrothal to a worthy suitor, drawn to a charming music teacher of no means. In a 1993 Manhattan besieged by the AIDS epidemic, a young Hawaiian man lives with his much older, wealthier partner, hiding his troubled childhood and the fate of his father. And in 2093, in a world riven by plagues and governed by totalitarian rule, a powerful scientist’s damaged granddaughter tries to navigate life without him—and solve the mystery of her husband’s disappearances. These three sections are joined in an enthralling and ingenious symphony…To Paradise is a fin de siècle novel of marvellous literary effect, but above all it is a work of emotional genius.” This definitely sounds great and very ambitious, too, if I may add…but then again, Hanya Yanagihara is exactly one of only a few writers working today who is more than capable of pulling it off.

Publication date: 11 January 2022.

II. Case Study by Graeme Macrae Burnet

I thought Burnet’s detective debut The Disappearance of Adèle Bedeau [2014] was atmospheric, nuanced, stylish and in the vein of Georges Simenon and the existential literature. Case Study is the author’s fourth book in which he presents London of 1965: “an unworldly young woman believes that a charismatic psychotherapist, Collins Braithwaite, has driven her sister to suicide. Intent on confirming her suspicions, she assumes a false identity and presents herself to him as a client, recording her experiences in a series of notebooks. But she soon finds herself drawn into a world in which she can no longer be certain of anything. Even her own character” (Goodreads). I am already intrigued because of the London setting and psychotherapy, and it seems that there is something in this book from film Shock Corridor [1963] too since we are dealing with a person who assumes the role of a mental patient to get to the truth.

Publication date: 7 October 2021.

III. Devotion by Hannah Kent

Even though I found Hannah Kent’s debut novel Burial Rites problematic, I still enjoyed the atmosphere there and so am looking forward to her third book Devotion, which I hope will be better than Burial Rites. The story in Devotion will be set in Prussia in the year 1836. Our heroine is Hanne, a fifteen year old “child of nature” who befriends “a kindred spirit” Thea. Hanne’s family is soon “granted safe passage to Australia”, but at what cost? I am glad that Kent will finally talk in her book about her home country Australia, even if in passing (her debut was set in Iceland and her second book in Ireland), and I am looking forward to her exploring the already familiar theme of a woman (girl) who struggles to establish her independence and freedom amidst hardship and societal injustice. Pan Macmillan says that “Devotion is a stunning story of girlhood and friendship, faith and suspicion, and the impossible lengths we go to for the ones we love.”

Publication date: 3 February 2022.

IV. Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel 

I will admit – I am having a difficult time getting into St. John Mandel’s books (Station Eleven [2014], The Glass Hotel [2020]), but I am still counting on her new book Sea of Tranquillity to convert me. This is because I can hardly imagine anything more interesting that the synopsis to her newest book which promises to transport the reader from “Vancouver Island in 1912 to a dark colony on the moon three hundred years later” (Penguin Random House). “Edwin St. Andrew is eighteen years old when he crosses the Atlantic by steamship…[and then] enters the forest….[and] suddenly hears the notes of a violin echoing in an airship terminal—an experience that shocks him to his core. Two centuries later a famous writer named Olive Llewellyn is on a book tour. She’s traveling all over Earth, but her home is the second moon colony…Within the text of Olive’s best-selling pandemic novel lies a strange passage: a man plays his violin for change in the echoing corridor of an airship terminal as the trees of a forest rise around him. When Gaspery-Jacques Roberts, a detective in the black-skied Night City, is hired to investigate an anomaly in the North American wilderness, he uncovers a series of lives upended: The exiled son of an earl driven to madness, a writer trapped far from home as a pandemic ravages Earth, and a childhood friend from the Night City who, like Gaspery himself, has glimpsed the chance to do something extraordinary that will disrupt the timeline of the universe.” Penguin Random House concludes that Sea of Tranquility “is a novel of time travel and metaphysics that precisely captures the reality of our current moment.” I am fascinated by this synopsis, but to be honest, also overwhelmed. I am sure it will all make sense in the end but perhaps this is the problem I always have with Emily St. John Mandel: she reaches for the stars in her narrative, but I get already bored as she makes all the necessary preparations for departure.

Publication date: 19 April 2022.

V. The Book of Hope by Jane Goodall & Douglas Abrams

This is the only non-fiction book on my list. Jane Goodall (1934-) is a world-renowned primatologist and anthropologist who is best known for her extensive work on chimpanzees. In The Book of Hope, she discusses with author Douglas Abrams some of the most pressing issues in today’s world and “focuses on her “Four Reasons for Hope”: The Amazing Human Intellect, The Resilience of Nature, The Power of Young People, and The Indomitable Human Spirit…Drawing on decades of work that has helped expand our understanding of what it means to be human and what we all need to do to help build a better world, The Book of Hope touches on vital questions, including: How do we stay hopeful when everything seems hopeless? How do we cultivate hope in our children? [and] What is the relationship between hope and action? (Goodreads). The book promises to be eye-opening, full of wisdom…and hope for the future.

Publication date: 19 October 2021.

Other releases: Colson Whitehead‘s Harlem Shuffle is out in about ten days’ time. He is the author behind such great novels as The Nickel Boys [2019] and The Underground Railroad [2016]. I am also looking forward to the publication of actor Alan Rickman‘s diaries which are still rumoured to be published in 2022. Moreover, the sequel to Jessie Burton‘s book The Miniaturist is due to be published in July 2022 (The House of Fortune), but, unfortunately, I had such a bad experience with The Miniaturist (see my *very honest* review here) that I have already decided to pass by this new release.

What do you think of my list? Are there any titles or authors that caught your eye? I know it is still early to think about any 2022 releases, but do you have any anticipated books for 2022 or maybe this year?

13 thoughts on “My 5 Most Anticipated Book Releases for Late 2021 & 2022

  1. I don’t keep track of new releases, so I’m always interested in lists like this. Still contemplating whether to read A Little Life and I have Burnet’s His Bloody Project on my Kindle waiting to be read. So that’s where I would probably start with these authors. I am looking forward to Sarah Moss’ The Fell and Richard Powers’ Bewilderment, both of which should come out soon.

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    1. A Little Life can prove so traumatic for some that the main issue of reading it is that one cannot then unread what one read. If that makes any sense. It’s very good, I thought, but definitely not for everyone. His Bloody Project is considered to be Burnet’s best work, but I still prefer his debut, perhaps because I found too many parallels in His Bloody Project with Camus’s The Outsider but only main character and language-wise. I also wasn’t a fan of the ending. The Fell and Bewilderment both look excellent and I didn’t know about them, many thanks!

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  2. Interesting list, with some things I hadn’t heard about (Kent’s Devotion, for example). We DO have a slight difference in taste, i.e., I’m really fond of Emily St. John Mandel’s work (although I don’t think her earlier books are as good as Station Eleven or The Glass Hotel), so I’m really looking forward to Sea of Tranquility. I didn’t particularly like Yanagihara’s A Little Life (I enjoyed the beginning but it just got to be too much suffering) so I’ll probably skip her To Paradise unless the reviews are really, really good. I’ve only read Burnett’s His Bloody Project, which I admit was quite clever, but . . . I probably won’t make a point of checking out Case Study.

    For myself I’d add (1) Colm Toíbín’s The Magician (Septenber 7), a sort of fictionalized treatment of Thomas Mann’s life (Toíbín did something along these lines for Henry James in The Master, which was wonderful); (2) Lauren’s Groff’s Matrix (Septenber 7), based on the life of a largely unknown medieval poetess (I know, title sounds sci-fi and the premise is a little unusual, but I like Groff’s work, especially Fates and Furies) and (3) Elizabeth Strout’s Oh William! (October 19), which continues the story of Lucy Barton.

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    1. Thank you! I am not discarding Emily St. John Mandel’s work by any means and am still hopeful that I will really like one of her books because her style and sci-fi vision do appeal to me. The three releases you mention all sound very good. I’ve heard about Colm Toíbín’s The Magician and am now thinking about adding to my TBR Lauren Groff’s new book. Her book Florida has been on my TBR shelf for some time now,

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      1. I haven’t read Groff’s Florida myself, even though I feel it’s now de rigueur to do so since I moved there about a year ago. I have read Arcadia, which I liked reasonably well (parts were great), as well as Fates & Furies, which I liked better I’ve avoided Groff’s debut novel, Monsters of Templeton, for no very good reason.
        Oh, if you like Jonathan Franzen (many don’t; I do with some reservations) — he also has a release scheduled for October, called Crossroads. I think it’s intended to be the first in a trilogy that he’s calling “A Key to all Mythologies,” with deference I imagine to Mr. Causaubon of Middlemarch!

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        1. I have just read the synopsis to Arcadia and since it is something I will potentially enjoy I immediately added it to my TBR, too, thanks. For some reason these story-lines about secluded communities always remind me of YA book Running Out of Time which was probably the basis of a film The Village so I am always intrigued.

          The very name of Jonathan Franzen gives me “literary” chills hehe, but it’s good to know he has a book coming out. I see that his new book is already called “[A] masterful, Tolstoian saga”? Sounds good. Given all the other books on my list, it seems that the year 2022 can already be called the year of one big literary ambition. Every author seems to want to get out there something very big, far-reaching or complex 🙂

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  3. Sounds like there’s a lot happening in Sea of Tranquility, maybe too much for me.
    Though my anticipated release (which I have actually already started, thanks to Netgalley) is Termination Shock by Neal Stephenson (896 pages and a lot happening!!), to be released in November

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    1. Exactly, there seems to be a lot going on in Sea of Tranquility and I didn’t even know they wrote such long synopses for yet-to-be-released books. I have just read the summary for Termination Shock and it sounds very topical and intriguing, thanks for bringing my attention to it!

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  4. I enjoyed Hannah Kent’s previous 2 books (for the most part) so I’ll probably read her new one. I loved Station Eleven but haven’t found myself motivated to pick up The Glass Hotel. But I agree that the description of this new one sounds fantastic.

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  5. Fascinating synopses of what mostly sound like novels designed to take the reader out of themselves and their immediate environment and think of alternative timelines, alternative waya of regarding the future, indeed alternative ways of thinking. I can see why they might appeal.

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    1. Yes, exactly, they sound interesting and I bet these “alternative timelines” books are fun to write, too. I am just not sure how one can produce a really, really great book with them. Not only one has to mind three or more different stories, times and sets of characters, but also ensure that the reader sees them as connected somehow and forming one whole idea or something similar by the end. This doesn’t sound like an easy thing to do, we’ll see.

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