2022: A promising year for CanLit

2022 may look bleak for most of us, but there’s one upside to the new year: new books! Here are six releases that you won’t want to miss out on

Considering the current state of the world, there’s perhaps no better way to ring in a new year than by getting lost in some fictional worlds. The good news is that 2022 appears to be an exciting year for CanLit. Short story enthusiasts will be particularly satisfied with this year’s upcoming releases. Below is a non-exhaustive list of some books to look forward to. Happy reading!

The School for Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan

Chan’s highly anticipated debut novel is nothing short of harrowing. Perhaps that’s what makes it so worthy of binge-reading. The novel’s main character, Frida, must prove her ability to be the perfect mother following a brief error in judgement. Sent to a reeducation centre for unfit mothers, she must do everything she can to demonstrate that she is a good caregiver or risk losing her child forever. The School for Good Mothers functions as both a commentary on surveillance in modern society, while also providing readers with a riveting tale about the lengths a mother will go to protect their child.

Release date: Jan. 4

People Change by Vivek Shraya

Shraya once again delivers a profoundly moving work that dares to explore collective fears and ideas surrounding change. Shraya delves into the universality of change and hopefully, by the end of this (extremely) digestible book, readers might harbour a new perspective when considering how change shapes each of our lives.

Release date: Jan. 4

A Hero of Our Time by Naben Ruthnum

Ruthnum’s latest novel is a breath of fresh air for the CanLit sphere, one that is simultaneously comedic and very much relevant for the current state of race politics in Canada. A Hero of Our Time does an impressive job exposing the arteries of Canada’s not-so-covert racism in the form of seemingly well-intentioned executives and their workplace diversity policies. Not only does the novel take a hard look at the role race plays in relation to one’s career, but it also explores the repercussions that follow when an attempt from a minority employee is made to dismantle and expose the superficiality of these policies.

Release date: Jan. 11

Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century by Kim Fu

Fans of Japanese author Haruki Murakami’s eccentric style will appreciate Fu’s ability to craft fictional worlds where bizarre characters and occurrences are plausible and simply a part of everyday life. Fu’s collection is an ideal choice for those who are new to surreal or speculative fiction and who aren’t necessarily ready to commit themselves to a full-length abstract narrative. This collection of twelve stories is guaranteed to transport readers to peculiar places who may be in desperate need of an escape. This is one book that promises to linger in your mind long after you’ve finished it.

Release date: Feb. 1

Why I’m Here by Jill Frayne

Frayne’s upcoming release is expected to deliver an emotionally heavy narrative that follows teenager Gale and her counsellor, Helen, as they both struggle with their own family issues. As with her 2003 novel, Starting Out in the Afternoon, readers can once again expect vivid descriptions of the Yukon’s pristine and untamed beauty. The only downside of this book is having to wait until summer for its release. Sigh.

Release date: May 1

No Stars in the Sky by Martha Bátiz

Another short story collection that you won’t want to miss out on is Bátiz’s latest book. All stories feature resilient women protagonists who are, in some way or another, undergoing a crisis. Bátiz’s work often explores current social issues, especially those concerning immigrant women. Readers who enjoyed the author’s 2017 collection titled Plaza Requiem: Stories at the Edge of Ordinary Lives can expect to thoroughly enjoy this upcoming collection just as much.

Release date: May 3


Graphic by James Fay


Note to Shelf: An Ode to Fantasy

I live in my own world. I genuinely believe in magic, and if you ask me, God and the Universe are one and the same. My most trusted confidante is the Grim Reaper, and my happy place is that little hour in the morning where you can still see the stars, but the sun’s starting to rise—that space of time where polar opposites merge and create a little thing called magic hour.

Confusing? Maybe. But considering fantasy novels have shaped my belief system and helped me cope with fears within me that I have yet to fully understand, it makes sense that my head works a little…. oddly.

Out of the endless pit of fantastical creatures such as vampires, werewolves and witches, my fantasy home is the faerie world. Three years ago I picked up a random book at Indigo, by an author called Sarah J. Maas. It was Throne of Glass, a novel about an assassin that was enslaved and later taken to compete against other assassins at the castle. I will not spoil, but A LOT HAPPENS.

The series was made up of 10 books in total, and every single one is worth it.

Throne of Glass then introduced me to A Court of Thorns and Roses by the same author––a series consisting of three giant books, and a smaller tale of “the time after.” I read this series three times in two years, in two different languages. I will be reading it again in Spanish this summer. I cannot get enough.

Here’s the thing about fantasy novels—they’re a perfect balance between a reflection of egregious real-life politics, the inevitable evil that haunts us in our world, and escapism. 

Fantasy is a genre that not only feeds your imagination and trains you to see things in ways that are otherworldly, but it also allows you to draw parallels with real life and understand things from a different perspective.

Game of Thrones sets a rather clear theme: the use politics for personal gain—at one point I was sure that Cersei was the fantasy version of Trump. Daenerys represented the left, and Jon Snow… well I’m still not sure what exactly he represented, but something to do with being in a perpetual state of conflict between doing the right thing and not wanting to get involved seems about right!

In books, you’re allowed a peek into a character’s mind—everything is humanized, even if the characters aren’t human. Emotional struggles, political situations, plans, secrets, all are things you as a reader are exposed to, and made to relate to.

Being able to deconstruct a situation in a fantasy novel and pinpoint similarities within your own life is a skill that breeds a better understanding of human relations. When a character is described, their thoughts and emotions are there. There is reasoning behind every decision, even the ones that are wrong. What that showed me was that everything people do is a reflection of who they are, what they’re going through. In other words, it simply taught me to not take things personally. Or at least to always try not to!

Reading about dark and creepy creatures haunting my favourite characters and the way they deal with them helped me deal with my own—I have a severe fear of inherent evil, I refuse to believe that anything is just evil, even magical creatures. What I loved the most about Maas’ books is that true to real life, there isn’t a clear line between good and bad—bad characters do good things, and good characters do bad things.

Simply put, fantasy novels show you a world that is so fundamentally different than yours, but creates links and bonds that shatter whatever preconceived ideas you had, and forces you to see things in a different light. Grim Reaper? Not always evil. Suriel, the monster from A Court of Thorns and Roses? Okay, kinda evil, but also restores balance.

Teaching you to break down preconceived notions and forcing you to understand a different kind of creature, even building fundamental similarities—fantasy novels, in so many ways, teach you to be accepting, non-judgemental and to appreciate even the things you hate or fear.

Well, how did I come to have the Grim Reaper as my closest confidante? That, little faeries, is a tale for another time. 


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