Books to Look Out For Out for in April 2022: Part One

Less new fiction than I’d hoped to look out for in April but still enough to fill a two-part preview kicking off with one for which I was champing at the bit once I Cover image for Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart saw it all over Twitter.

Set in early ‘90s Glasgow, Booker Prize-winning Douglas Stuart’s Young Mungo is about the youngest son of the Hamilton family, brought up largely by his sister while his brother is out strutting the streets and his mother chases after the next man who promises her a future until she succumbs to the booze again. Then Mungo meets James who is the opposite side of the divide in this deeply sectarian city. An immersive, thoroughly absorbing novel, very dark at times, written with the same wit, compassion and tenderness that made Shuggie Bain so affecting. Best have the tissues handy; I chose to interpret the ending as hopeful perhaps because it was too heart-wrenching to do otherwise. Review soon… Cover image for Trespasses by Louise Kennedy

On a similar theme, Louise Kennedy’s Trespasses is set in early ‘70s County Down against the backdrop of the Troubles, meshing the political with the personal through the story of a young Catholic teacher who becomes involved with a Protestant barrister. Kennedy explores sectarianism through a tender love story which echoes the divisions running through Northern Irish society. Her short story collection, The End of the World is a Cul de Sac defeated my usual strategy of picking favourites, all of them were so good, and Trespasses more than lives up to that. Review shortly…

Cover image for None of This is Serious by Catherine Prasifka Much praised by Naoise Dolan of Exciting Times fame, Catherine Prasifka’s None of This is Serious sees Sophie coming to the end of her time as a student in Dublin. While her friends seem to have everything sorted, Sophie feels unsure of her future, not least with Finn with whom she’s in love. After a disastrous party, Sophie finds herself in limbo, obsessively scrolling social media. ‘None of This Is Serious is about the uncertainty and absurdity of being alive today. It’s about balancing the real world with the online, and the vulnerabilities in yourself, your relationships, your body. At its heart, this is a novel about the friendships strong enough to withstand anything’ says the blurb which sounds promising although a bit similar to several other novels I’ve read in the past few years. Cover image for Seven Steeples by Sara Baume

Truth be told, I was a bit disappointed by Sara Baume’s A Line Made by Walking, probably because I loved Spill Simmer Falter Wither so much. Her new one, Seven Steeples, sees a young couple freshly in love, moving away from the city to live in isolation in the shadow of a mountain. ‘Taking place in a remote house in the south-west of Ireland, this rich and vivid novel spans seven years and speaks to the times we live in, asking how we may withdraw, how better to live in the natural world, and how the choices made or avoided lead us home’ say the publishers, whetting my appetite nicely,

Cover image for The Quiet Whispers Never Stop by Olivia Fitzsimmons Olivia Fitzsimmons’ The Quiet Whispers Never Stop spans two generations in the Malin family. In 1982, Nuala is unhappy in her marriage but kept in place by her children when she meets a 17-year-old boy who offers a brief escape. Twelve years later, her daughter is also planning an escape putting Northern Ireland and its troubles behind her, drawn into a relationship with an older man. It was Jan Carson who tipped me the wink about this one on Twitter when I reviewed her novel, The Raptures.

That’s it for the first part of April’s new fiction which has a distinctly Celtic bent. A click on a title will take you to a more detailed synopsis for any that take your fancy. Part two soon…

26 thoughts on “Books to Look Out For Out for in April 2022: Part One”

  1. Lots of Irish fiction on here! I’m really looking forward to hearing what you think of Trespasses and I’m personally looking forward to The Quiet Whispers.

  2. Ooh lots that tempts me here, I’m looking forward to Seven Steeples being a big fan of Sara Baume’s work ever since reading her delightful nonfiction title Handiwork. I’ve also got Trespasses to read and her short stories do sound equally enticing!

    1. Pleased to hear that, Claire. Seven Steeples sounds very promising, doesn’t it? Both Trespasses and the short story collection are excellent. Louise Kennedy is such a good writer

  3. These all sound very tempting. I’m hoping to get to Shuggie Bain in the next few weeks so I’ll look forward to your review of Young Mungo. I think I’m going to really enjoy Stuart’s writing.

    1. It took me ages to get around to Shuggie as I was expecting it to be unremittingly grim but Stuart is such a warm, witty writer he draws his readers in. I hope you love it as much as I did.

  4. I WANT THEM ALL! I already have None of This is Serious, but wasn’t aware Baume had another out. I loved Shuggie, so Young Mungo is a must-read, and Trespasses looks excellent as well.

  5. Young Mungo sounds excellent, but I still haven’t read Shuggie Bain which is on my tbr. Looking forward to both. I have meant to explore more Sara Baume since reading Spill Simmer Falter Wither.

  6. I’ve just seen the Louise Kennedy and the Olivia Fitzsimons in Cathy’s post on new Irish fiction in 2022, and both novels sound very good indeed. Looking forward to hearing more about those two in due course…

  7. Sara Baume really intrigues me and, even though she hasn’t always connected with her writing, Rebecca has mentioned her as someone I’d probably enjoying exploring too. April looks to be a good month in general here though!

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