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The Best Fiction of 2022 (So Far!)

The Best Fiction of 2022 (So Far!)

The pandemic left nothing untouched, and that includes the world of publishing. With bookshops closed and publishers ground to a near-standstill, the steady release of great fiction we had grown accustomed to dried up. Now, nearly approaching the Winter of 2022, we simply CANNOT keep up.

This year has seen the long-awaited return of Maggie O’Farrell, Donal Ryan and Robert Harris, some astounding debut novels and a host of fantastic genre fiction, and we’re not even at year’s end!

If you’re looking for a quick guide to selecting your perfect Winter reads for 2022, you’ll definitley find something in our list below.

Remember that this list is just the top 10 in our opinion. However, we’re big smarty-pants book people, and our opinion is better than yours. If you think we’ve missed something out in our list, let us know in the comments below!

Steeped in 1960s pop culture and with a powerful and loveable heroine at it’s heart, Lessons in Chemistry has been the surprise hit of 2022 so far. Chemist Elizabeth Zott is not your average woman. In fact, Elizabeth Zott would be the first to point out that there is no such thing.

But it’s the early 1960s and her all-male team at Hastings Research Institute take a very unscientific view of equality. Except for one: Calvin Evans, the lonely, brilliant, Nobel-prize nominated grudge-holder who falls in love with – of all things – her mind. True chemistry results.

Like science, life is unpredictable. Which is why a few years later, Elizabeth Zott finds herself not only a single mother, but the reluctant star of America’s most beloved cooking show, Supper at Six. Elizabeth’s unusual approach to cooking (‘combine one tablespoon acetic acid with a pinch of sodium chloride’) proves revolutionary. But as her following grows, not everyone is happy. Because as it turns out, Elizabeth Zott isn’t just teaching women to cook. She’s daring them to change the status quo. If you haven’t read the surprise hit of 2022 yet, get your copy here

Elizabeth Strout has proven time and again that she is the modern-day master of writing great family drama, and in Lucy Barton she has given us one of the most relatable heroine’s in modern literature.

In March 2020 Lucy’s ex-husband William pleads with her to leave New York and escape to a coastal house he has rented in Maine. Lucy reluctantly agrees, leaving the washing-up in the sink, expecting to be back in a week or two. Weeks turn into months, and it’s just Lucy, William, and their complex past together in a little house nestled against the sea.

Rich with empathy and a searing clarity, Lucy by the Sea evokes the fragility and uncertainty of the recent past, as well as the possibilities that those long, quiet days can inspire. At the heart of this miraculous novel are the deep human connections that sustain us, even as the world seems to be falling apart.

Yes, we’re Graham Norton fans here at LitVox. And quite frankly, if you’re not, you should be. 

Perhaps not content with being Ireland and the UK’s most recongnisable and entertaining talk-show host, Norton published his first novel, Holding, in 2016. The public and critical reception was rapturous, and each subsequent novell has been greeted with the same acclaim. 

Forever Home is no different. In fact, it’s arguably his best novel yet. Carol, the novel’s middle-aged protaganist, is Norton’s most finely wraught character to date, and his portrayal of the dark, gossipy, window-twitching world of small-town Ireland is both hilarious and infuriating for anyone who knows what rural Ireland can be like for someone just trying to live life on their own terms.

The great thing about this novel is that it offers the perfect introduction to Norton’s brilliant and accessible style. Trust us, it’s fantastic, and will make you want to read back through each of his brilliant novels. Time well spent as far as we’re concerned. Get your copy from LitVox today.

Robert Harris returns with another astounding historical thriller – this time set around the hunt for the killers of King Charles I at the end of teh English Civil War.

1660, General Edward Whalley and Colonel William Goffe, father- and son-in-law, cross the Atlantic. They are on the run and wanted for the murder of Charles I. Under the provisions of the Act of Oblivion, they have been found guilty in absentia of high treason.

In London, Richard Nayler, secretary of the regicide committee of the Privy Council, is tasked with tracking down the fugitives. He’ll stop at nothing until the two men are brought to justice. A reward of £100 hangs over their heads – for their capture, dead or alive.

The brilliant thing about Harris is that his detailed writing is matched by the breakneck speed of the plot. It moves like a movie or mini-series, yet thewriting is such that the reader can feel every chill on the wind of the frontier, and smell the gunsmoke during every battle. Brilliant stuff. Get your copy here.

1926, and in a Britain still recovering from the Great War, London has become the focus for a delirious new nightlife. In the clubs of Soho, peers of the realm rub shoulders with starlets, foreign dignitaries with gangsters, and girls sell dances for a shilling a time.

The notorious queen of this glittering world is Nellie Coker, ruthless but also ambitious to advance her six children, including the enigmatic eldest, Niven whose character has been forged in the crucible of the Somme. But success breeds enemies, and Nellie’s empire faces threats from without and within. For beneath the dazzle of Soho’s gaiety, there is a dark underbelly, a world in which it is all too easy to become lost.

With her unique Dickensian flair, Kate Atkinson brings together a glittering cast of characters in a truly mesmeric novel that captures the uncertainty and mutability of life; of a world in which nothing is quite as it seems.

Pick up your Copy here…

This is a Cold War espionage thriller, but one so clever and well-plotted as to leave many pretenders in its wake.

It is the summer of 1961 and the brutal Cold War between East and West is becoming ever more perilous. Two young prodigies from either side of the Iron Curtain, Yulia and Michael, meet at a chess tournament in London. They don’t know it, but they are about to compete in the deadliest game ever played.

Shadowing them is Greta, a ruthless resistance fighter who grew up the hard way in the forests of Lithuania, but who is now hunting down some of the most dangerous men in the world.

Men who are also on the radar of Vassily, perhaps the Soviet Union’s greatest spymaster. A man of cunning and influence, Vassily was Yulia’s minder during her visit to the West, but even he could not foresee the consequences of her meeting Michael. Get your copy of this near-perfect thriller here…

With the publication of Hamnet, Millions of readers were finally made aware of O’Farrell’s genius. Just as that brilliant novel took Shakesperean England for its setting, so The Marriage Act brings us to Reniassance Italy and the court of the de Medicis. 

Lucrezia, third daughter of Cosimo de’ Medici, is comfortable with her obscure place in the palazzo: free to wonder at its treasures, observe its clandestine workings, and to devote herself to her own artistic pursuits.  But when her older sister dies on the eve of marriage to Alfonso d’Este, ruler of Ferrara, Modena and Reggio, Lucrezia is thrust unwittingly into the limelight: the duke is quick to request her hand in marriage, and her father to accept on her behalf.

Having barely left girlhood behind, Lucrezia must now make her way in a troubled court whose customs are opaque and where her arrival is not universally welcomed…..

A wonderfully conceived piece of historical fiction that examines themes of lonlieness, desire, rank and a woman’s will to be independent in a world that views her as a commodity to be traded. Get your copy here….

The author Rachel Joyce once said of Donal Ryan’s writing; ‘I think you have to truly love people to write like this’. Anybody who has read Ryan’s novels will know this to be true. His mastery of the intricate loves and furies of family life will light something on fore in the reader’s chest.

This novel focuses on different generations of women of the Aylward family. Like most Irish families, they are more alike than any of them would care to admit. 

Their story begins at an end and ends at a beginning. It’s a story of terrible betrayals and fierce loyalties, of isolation and togetherness, of transgression, forgiveness, desire, and love. About all the things family can be and all the things it sometimes isn’t. More than anything, it is an uplifting celebration of fierce, loyal love and the powerful stories that last generations.

Get your copy from LitVox today.

A literary puzzle about money, power, and intimacy, Trust is a novel that challenges the myths shrouding wealth, and the fictions that often pass for history.

Even through the roar and effervescence of the 1920s, everyone in New York has heard of Benjamin and Helen Rask. He is a legendary Wall Street tycoon; she is the daughter of eccentric aristocrats. Together, they have risen to the very top of a world of seemingly endless wealth-all as a decade of excess and speculation draws to an end. But at what cost have they acquired their immense fortune?

This is the mystery at the center of Bonds, a successful 1938 novel that all of New York seems to have read. But there are other versions of this tale of privilege and deceit.

Hernan Diaz’s Trust elegantly puts these competing narratives into conversation with each other-and in tension with the perspective of one woman bent on disentangling fact from fiction. The result is a novel that spans an entire century and becomes more exhilarating with each new revelation.

There's Been a Little Incident by Alice Ryan

A witty and warm debut novel from a young Irish writer. A story of family, grief, and the ways we come together when all seems lost.

Molly Black has disappeared. She’s been flighty since her parents died, but this time – or so says her hastily written note – she’s gone for good.

That’s why the whole Black clan – from Granny perched on the printer to Killian on Zoom from Sydney – is huddled together in the Dublin suburbs, arguing over what to do.

Former model Lady V presumes Molly’s just off taking drugs and sleeping with strangers – which is fine by her. Cousin Anne, tired of living in Molly’s shadow, is keeping quiet, and cousin Bobby is distracted by his own issues.

But Molly’s disappearance is eerily familiar to Uncle John. He is determined never to lose anyone again. Especially not his niece, who is more like her mum than she realises. Get your copy here.

All of the titles above are available to order from LitVox.