I love when these lists start popping up! I’m definitely a bit out of the loop at the moment, so my own offering is partly a list of upcoming books I’m excited about, and partly an appeal for recommendations you think I should keep an eye out for throughout the coming year. But without further ado, let’s talk about some books!
(Note: Release dates are to the best of my knowledge. They may change, and will likely differ between countries!)
Jawbone by Mónica Ojeda, translated by Sarah Booker – February 2022
This queer horror story supposedly explores the inherent terrors of adolescence and “the fine line between desire and fear”. Translated from the Spanish, it has shades of secrecy, madness, violence, and love, which is more than enough to pique my interest!
Parallel Hells by Leon Craig – February 2022
This collection of short stories puts a fresh spin on tropes of folklore and gothic horror to explore “queer identity, love, power and the complicated nature of being human”, all of which sounds right up my street. It seems it may lean into quite a bit of surrealism, and though this can be very hit-or-miss for me, I tend to gel best with it in short fiction.
Pollak’s Arm by Hans von Trotha, translated by Elisabeth Lauffer – February 2022
Drawing on real events and a little-known historical figure, this look at the power of knowledge and the importance of art is set in the Vatican in 1943. As Nazis storm the city, an envoy is sent to warn Ludwig Pollack, but rather than flee from certain death, he sits his messenger down and calmy narrates his life story, “illuminating the chasm between civilization and barbarism”.
Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia Armfield – March 2022
Miri’s wife returns from a deep-sea mission gone wrong; her relief turning to fear when it becomes apparent she brought something back with her. Speculative, queer, horror/sci-fi that explores love, loss, and grief? Yes, please.
Time Is a Mother by Ocean Vuong – April 2022
I’ve read both Vuong’s debut novel and debut poetry collection. He writes beautifully, and this second collection of poems, centred around the loss of his mother, is sure to be another powerful read.
Voting Day by Clare O’Dea – April 2022
Set in Switzerland in 1959, on the day men voted overwhelmingly to deny women the right to vote, this offers a glimpse into the lives of four very different Swiss women whose paths intersect. Though there’s a clear political angle to the book’s commentary, it favours a look at the human cost of inequality.
A Good Year by Polis Loizou – April 2022
Set in 1920s rural Cyprus, this follows a young couple expecting their first child. While one lives in fear of hellish creatures said to wreak havoc on earth during the twelve days of Christmas, the other is plagued by strange dreams that throw his sexuality into doubt. Seemingly at the mercy of ominous forces beyond their control, and a village wreathed in superstition, this slim novel looks at folklore and desire.
Shadow Girls by Carol Birch – April 2022
This is described as a literary exploration of girlhood that combines psychological suspense with elements of a ghost story. Our teenage protagonists find themselves haunted by a tragedy they witness in 1960s Manchester, and though I don’t know much else, I’m already hooked.
Under Her Skin by Various, edited by Lindy Ryan & Toni Miller – April 2022
An anthology of women in horror, this collects previously unpublished works of dark verse and lyrical prose focussed on the concept of body horror and the female experience. This sounds incredible, but I also love how inclusive it is, featuring work from cis and trans women, and non-binary femme writers. Also, THAT COVER!
Lapvona by Ottessa Moshfegh – June 2022
Somehow, I’m still yet to try Moshfegh’s work, but her books always sound intriguing and inspire strong opinion! This particular offering is set in a medieval village, when “new and occult forces upset the old order.” With characters including the abused son of a shepherd, the blind local midwife with a strange connection to the land, the town priest, and the rich local governor, it sounds like there is much potential to mine in the book’s look at faith, power, and social structure.
A Botanist’s Guide to Parties and Poisons by Kate Khavari – June 2022
Historical fiction with elements of gothic mystery, this follows a trainee botanist’s attempts to clear her mentor’s name when he is wrongly accused of murder. Her knowledge of poisons could lead her to the truth, but it could also put her on the path of the actual killer. This sound like it could tick a lot of my boxes!
Life Ceremony by Sayaka Murata, translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori – July 2022
Murata made waves with her first 2 novels translated into English, but this is the first time we’ll be able to dive into a collection of her short fiction. Characteristically unsettling, humorous, and otherworldly, the stories supposedly focus on “loners and outcasts”, exploring what it means to be human within the scope of “family and friendship, sex and intimacy, belonging and individuality”.
What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher – July 2022
As a lover of gothic horror, this retelling of The Fall of the House of Usher would have my attention anyway, thanks to the inclusion of a creepy manor, mysterious maladies, and strange voices in the night. Mention of “nightmare fungal growths and possessed wildlife, surrounding a dark, pulsing lake” suggest it may also lean into cosmic/body horror, which makes me even more excited.
I’ll leave it there for now, but as I said, this is by no means a comprehensive list. I’m sure there are some I’ve forgotten, and even more I don’t know about yet! With that in mind, I’d love to know which book releases you’re most excited for in 2022.