The Candy House, Sea of ​​Tranquility and More – The Hollywood Reporter

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After several lavish years, in which the plethora of big-name books became nearly impossible to keep up with, publishing is finally catching up. 2022 was arguably slower and quieter than its recent predecessors — there was no Sally Rooney to grace bags all over Brooklyn, no Jonathan Franzen dominating the rant. Rather than fighting over which blockbusters deserved their spot at the top, there was time and space for titles of all stripes to find a readership. No two “best of” lists will likely be the same this year, which means the glitch in the system may finally be mending itself; the algorithm is weakening. On here, THR picks its top 10 titles and a host of additional works we hope you’ll pick.

1. Sea of ​​Tranquility, by Emily St. John Mandel

Emily St. John Mandel is so good at world-building that she can do in a slim volume what most authors would need – or needlessly take – a door latch to achieve. She continues the legacy of moving science fiction she started with Station Eleven and perfected in The Glass Hotel, with this sister (cousin?) romance that spans centuries and worlds: it opens in the 1800s on a small island in Canada and follows a group of interconnected characters to a futuristic lunar colony, as they all experience the aftermath of the same seemingly unexplained space-faring phenomenon. time. All the while, she performs her particular Mandelian pen trick: while you think you’re solving a mystery, you end up considering the very meaning of our place on this planet.

two. Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow, by Gabrielle Zevin

tomorrow the plot synopsis threatens to betray itself – the book, which spurred a tense multi-house auction for publishing rights and an even bigger fight over adaptation rights, is about two childhood friends who reconnect in college and create a video game together going to get rich and famous. Niche? Possibly. But let it be clear that this book is for absolutely everyone. The plot is just that: a way to eradicate the existential questions that plague all important friendships. How do we care for each other, how do we balance the desire to have it all with our basic need for just a few things, is anything in life more important than getting back to the people we love? No one who picks up this book will regret it.

3. candy house, by Jennifer Egan

A Visit from the Goon Squadthe predecessor of 2010 candy housewas one of the best – if not The best – novels of the previous decade, bringing a sharp and fresh twist to the storytelling device of several occasionally over-the-top narrators. Skepticism would be a healthy reaction to a sister novel, but Egan’s latest is a beautiful reminder that the literary world has not fallen victim to Hollywood’s existing IP creative drought. candy housewhich resurrects some key characters and places them in the near future, where the latest technological innovation involves uploading their subconscious to a public server, is as delightfully weird, eerily prescient, and thought-provoking as one might hope.

4. All this can be different, by Sarah Thankam Matthews

A debut novel with the same depth and delicacy as more experienced authors, All this can be different captures that very particular millennial ennui: its protagonist, graduating college in a drought-ridden job market and a political system that leaves her behind, is suffering the side effects of capitalism before readers’ eyes. But, in a particularly deft literary trick, this book of misery is anything but miserable to read. Matthews tells the story of a young woman who makes bad decisions but is never bad; and a stark reminder that we’re all just trying to get by.

5. Or, by Elif Batuman

The heroine of Batuman, previously seen in 2017 The idiotis an aspiring flâneuse momentarily held captive by her circumstances, not unlike the literary cousin of The White Lotus‘ Portia (trades a disastrous work trip to Taormina for her second year at Harvard). The novel, which uses Selin’s college reading list and his reactions to catalog his quest for meaning in a world that seems out of reach, is deliciously analog in nature. It’s full of meandering speeches and big questions, both a challenge to our literary culture of page-turning commercial thrillers and a guarantee that you always have more answers than you had the day before.

6. stay faithful, by Hua Hsu

The tragic loss of the author’s best college friend serves as the centerpiece of this memoir that is at once a moving eulogy and a moving coming-of-age narrative. Hsu, a star writer on the the new yorkertransports his readers to 1990s San Francisco, a time of grunge bands and youthful nostalgia, and his words about his late friend will remind everyone of what we used to have.

7. to paradise, by Hanya Yanagihara

O a little life the author’s long-awaited sequel trades harrowing interpersonal heartbreaks for existential crises – the three-part book traces climate change and the downfall of society caused by the pandemic as we know it – yet within these broad threads are intimate character studies written with the utmost care .

8. Acts of Service, by Lillian Fishman

This gripping debut novel, about a young Brooklynite who stumbles into a poly relationship, takes everything you thought you knew about sexual politics and power and turns it on its head – it’s Sally Rooney, with an ax to smash heteronormativity.

9. Vladimir, by Julia May Jones

A campus professor finds her internalized misogyny put to the test when her husband – who is something of a college celebrity – is caught in the crosshairs of the Me Too movement. To cope, she begins to obsess over a fellow newcomer, and what begins as a meditation on power and sexual politics is delightfully derailed with a third act no reader could have foreseen.

10. Phantom Lover, by Lisa Taddeo

Lisa Taddeo, from three women fame, brings more of the complexities of womanhood to center stage in this collection of short stories about women behaving badly. She explores desire, but this time her protagonists crave not so much sexual connection as a reclaiming of control, however they can get it.

Honorable Mentions

The Best Book to Read Before Oscar Season: Run towards dangerby Sarah Polley

The most promising future literary star: Leila Mottley (nightcrawling🇧🇷

The Bravest Celebrity Memoir: I’m glad my mom died, by Jeannette McCurdy

Best vibe change in the book: Trust, by Hernan Diaz

The novel that should have been a huge book club hit: Like a house on fireby Lauren McBrayer

The Most Wonderfully Weird Read of the Year: montage happiness, by Ling Ma

Book we wish the Kardashians would read: Aestheticsby Allie Rowbottom