We may be just over the halfway point of 2022, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t already some truly illuminating and inspiring women’s novels that have graced our shelves with all their vibrant wonder.
From dystopian dread to hilariously kooky rom coms, heart wrenching tragedies to multi-generational masterpieces, the year of 2022 certainly isn’t shying away from producing some incredible reads.
We thought we would share with you our favourite five of the year so far, including one from one of the best women’s fiction writers Australia has seen:
- Olga Dies Dreaming by Xochitl Gonzalez
To the outside world, everything is going swimmingly for Olga. She is a wedding planner for the Manhattan elite and lives in a swanky Brooklyn neighbourhood. But all is not so perfect in Olga’s life, as she struggles with the loneliness of achieving her hefty goals as well as the abandonment of her mother, who left when Olga was just a child.
Set in New York but rooted in Puerto Rico’s devastating Hurricane Maria, Olga is on a quest for self-improvement, and even finds herself finding a new man in this quirky rom com that asks serious questions about love, race, family and the American dream.
A stunning debut novel worthy of any “best of 2022” list!
- Bodies of Light by Jennifer Down
There is no doubt that Bodies of Light by Jennifer Down will go down as one of the great modern Australian novels. This heart wrenching, tragic tale dives headfirst and steadfast into loss on an unfathomable scale, where fear and trauma were the norm and we’re children were forced to communicate through morse code taps on bedroom walls.
Bodies of Light is by no means easy reading, and many readers might find it difficult to handle its often-oppressive themes, but for those of you who are looking for an incredibly well-written work by one of the world’s best upcoming writers, then you will certainly find Bodies of Light to be an enriching work.
Oh, and it was the 2022 winner of the Miles Franklin Award, so it has that pedigree to its name, too…
- To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara
Hanya Yanagihara has followed up her incredible A Little Life with another work of inspired brilliance, To Paradise. This outrageously-inventine novel is set in an alternative reality New York where characters from 100 years apart (1893, 1993, 2093) must navigate the various personal and social tragedies that befall their families and their city.
The story contains a host of detailed, complex plotlines that whilst appearing to be dissimilar from one another, all contain a common theme: who we are and how we love.
- The School for Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan
This eerie-yet-astonishing work is sure to draw parallels to the Margaret Atwood classic, The Handmaid’s Tale, for the way it reflects the treatment of women in modern America. This is for very good reason, as The School for Good Mothers is another amazing dystopian read and one that is worthy of such comparisons.
The book story is based upon Frida Liu, a young mother who is struggling to raise her 18-month old baby after her husband left her for an even younger woman. In the midst of a personal crisis Frida accidentally leaves her baby home for a couple of hours, is caught doing so, and sent to the eponymous School for Good Mothers, where mothers are judged and rehabilitated for their infractions.
As we said, it’s an eerie work, but one that has been rendered even more powerful given recent events in the US.