Books to Look Out for in February 2022: Part Two

Cover image for Love Marriage by Monica AliFebruary’s first instalment kicked off with a highly anticipated novel as does this one. Monica Ali’s Love Marriage sees Yasmin engaged to a fellow doctor and looking forward to a bright future. Her family’s reaction to her prospective mother-in-law’s feminism sparks revelations and a reassessment by Yasmin of her family and what her marriage might mean. ‘What starts as a captivating social comedy develops into a heart-breaking and gripping story of two cultures, two families and two people trying to understand one another’ says the blurb. It’s been a decade since Untold Story was published but Love Marriage sounds worth the wait.Cover image for Cleopatra and Frankenstein by Coco Mellors

Set in New York, Coco Mellors’ debut, Cleopatra and Frankenstein is about a marriage between a young woman, broke and a little ragged from partying, and a man 20 years her senior who seems to have everything in life she’s hoping for.He offers her the chance to be happy, the freedom to paint, and the opportunity to apply for a green card. She offers him a life imbued with beauty and art-and, hopefully, a reason to cut back on his drinking’ according to the publishers which sounds a little fluffy but I can’t resist a New York setting.

Cover image for Brown Girls by Daphne Palasi AndreadesStaying in New York, Daphne Palasi Andreades’ Brown Girls is so assured I had to keep reminding myself it’s a first novel. Opening in working-class Queens where Andreades grew up, it follows the many and varied experiences of brown girls born to parents who’ve arrived in the USA, hoping for a better future for their American kids. Brown girls are American but they’re also something else. They’re Haitian, Pakistani, Flipina, Chinese, to name but a few but they’re all the same to their teachers who can never get their names straight. I practically inhaled this novel which is written in the first-person plural. Quite a risk for a debut but it works beautifully.

From one irresistible setting to another – Berlin is the backdrop for Emma Harding’s Friedrichstrasse 19, set both before andCover image for Friedrichstrasse 19 by Emma Harding after the Wall came down. It spans several decades in the lives of its characters who all live at the eponymous address, from Sara thrilled by her liberating move to the city before the Second World War to recently divorced Heike who leapt over the Wall in 1989. ‘Time-travelling between decades, through the interlocking lives of six people, Friedrichstrasse 19 relives the tumultuous experience of a city on the frontline of history’ says the blurb which sounds right up my alley.

Cover image for Oval by Elvia WilksElvia Wilks’ Oval is also set in Berlin, exploring themes of inequality and economic upheaval. Anja and Louis are part of a pioneering eco-community powered by trash. As climate change bites and the weather becomes increasingly unpredictable, Louis becomes obsessed with a pill that reprograms people to become more generous. Anja is horrified but Louis is convinced this is a universal panacea. A novel with an interesting premise that could go either way for me.

February’s second preview ends as the first one did with an accomplished short story collection by an Irish writer: WendyCover image for Dance Move by Wendy Erskine Erskine’s Dance Move. Erskine’s stories are snapshots of ordinary, lives in which characters often face a crisis or decision that jolts them, sometimes leaving them irrevocably changed. Many are shot through with a humour that raises a wry smile. Quiet stories, unflashy in their brilliance, they make an impression that deepens as they sink in. I found myself thinking about several long after I’d read them.

That’s it for February’s new fiction. A click on a title will take you to a more detailed synopsis for any that take your fancy and if you missed the first part, it’s here. Paperbacks soon…


41 thoughts on “Books to Look Out for in February 2022: Part Two”

  1. So looking forward to the Wendy Erskine book, I loved ‘Sweet home’, the characters felt so real to me, I was looking out for them the last time I was in East Belfast.

  2. That’s more books on order ha, ha, ha. I especially interested in Love Marriage and Friedrichstrasse 19 – neither were on my radar but they certainly are now – Cheers

  3. You find such interesting books. Looking right now for Cleopatra and Frankenstein! I love an older man/younger woman story. I also love that cover on Love and Marriage–even better that the book sounds good. I also like the sound of the short story collection.

  4. Several of these look very promising. I’ve had my eye on Brown Girls but was a bit hesitant; sounds now like I shouldn’t be. I’ve been meaning to read Monica Ali for some time, but perhaps should read Untold Story before Love, Marriage? Like many, I too love a Berlin setting, so Friedrich Strasse 19 is now on the list!

    1. Friedrichstrasse 19 is a popular choice! Certainly near the top of my own list. I can recommend Brown Girls. Absolutely loved it. but I’m afraid I haven’t read Untold Story or Love Marriage so can’t comment on that.

  5. I’ve seen quite a bit of buzz about Brown Girls on social media, and I’m sure the new Monica Ali will also be a great success. But the one that interests me the most is Dance Move. Based on your description, it sounds right up my street.

  6. several of these books sounds very promising. i liked the plot of “love marriage” by monica ali, definitely adding it to my list. really excited to read your reviews on these books.

  7. Particularly exciting crop. I was very passionate about Monica Ali’s Brick Lane way back when. At the sentence level, I was gripped beyond belief by the descriptions of her first baby in that. It’s so nice to read attention to Monica Ali, and I love the sound of the other titles too. Thank you!

  8. My review of Brown Girls was pulled because the copy didn’t arrive in time from the publisher and now I’m doubly disappointed! (But not complaining, there were a lot of tired delivery people and shipping folks before the holidays as it was, I’m sure. And it did mean a little less work around Xmas.)
    Oval looks interesting too…

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