Best Audiobooks of 2022 | Fiction

Those who read with their ears can sink into LJ’s top 10 audio fiction works of 2022. With high production values, superb characterizations, and top-notch pacing, these choices will please many.

Best Audiobooks of 2022 | Fiction

Ali, Monica. Love Marriage. S. & S. Audio. ISBN 9781797135267. F

Bride-to-be Dr. Yasmin Ghorami is consumed with pre-wedding angst, worrying that her devoutly Muslim mother will embarrass her in front of fiancé Joe’s boundary-pushing feminist mother. When the two families—one white, one Bengali—finally meet, deeply held family secrets are exposed. Ayesha Dharker’s crisp, musical narration of Ali’s engrossing novel excels across class, culture, and generational divides, completely immersing listeners in the inner lives and outward relationships of the characters.

Fofana, Sidik. Stories from the Tenants Downstairs. S. & S. Audio. ISBN 9781797145020. F

NYC public school teacher Fofana debuts with a collection of eight linked stories centering on tenants living in a low-income apartment building in Obama-era Harlem. While each tenant has a distinctive voice and story, they are drawn together by the stress of pervasive poverty. A strong multi-actor cast channels the rhythm of Fofana’s edgy and raw style, creating vibrant characterizations that brim with creativity, energy, and determination.

Liew, Jamie Chai Yun. Dandelion. Bespeak Audio Editions. ISBN 9781773059730. F

Born to parents of Chinese ancestry in British Columbia, Lily is still reeling from her mother’s unexplained disappearance 20 years earlier. Her journey to understand her mother’s fraught search for belonging reveals the complexities of identity, home, and motherhood. Jennifer Hui delivers a thoughtful and measured narration of Liew’s ethereal debut, honoring her elegant prose and illuminating Lily’s pain, longing, and grace.

McKenzie, Moses. An Olive Grove in Ends. Hachette Audio. ISBN 9781668605493. F

In the hardscrabble British Jamaican and Somali neighborhood known as Ends, Sayon dreams of a charming house, a steady job, and a simple, loving relationship. As he is drawn into drugs and violence, however, his plans for a picture-perfect life unravel before his eyes. With gritty emotionality, Louis McKenzie narrates his brother’s work, bringing out the intricacies of accents, tones, and voices, and conveying the ever-present dread that fuels this stunning debut.

Montimore, Margarita. Acts of Violet. Macmillan Audio. ISBN 9781250854636. F

Led by versatile voice actress Brittany Pressley, 10 outstanding narrators elevate Montimore’s cleverly designed narrative, which centers on the mysterious disappearance of pop culture superstar and magician Violet Volk. Violet’s sister, Sasha, mesmerizingly voiced by Pressley, anchors this dazzling story, plunging listeners into Sasha’s unresolved issues with her famous—and famously selfish—sister. This intensely creative audio is enhanced by startlingly real snippets from fictional podcasts, newpaper articles, and letters.

Nethercott, GennaRose. Thistlefoot. Books on Tape. ISBN 9780593628751. FANTASY

Nethercott’s fantastical debut follows estranged siblings Bellatine and Isaac, descendants of Baba Yaga, who receive a most unusual inheritance—Thistlefoot, Baba Yaga’s sentient house that walks on chicken legs. January LaVoy pulls out all the stops in her extraordinary narration of this twisty modern-day fairy tale, employing sensitively crafted voices and accents to convey the house’s chilling memories and the siblings’ attempts to outrun the sinister forces that pursue them.

Shah, Mansi. The Taste of Ginger. Brilliance Audio. ISBN 9781713620624. F

Preeti Desai, who emigrated from India to the United States when she was seven years old, is called back to India after a family tragedy. Narrator Soneela Nankani’s emotionally resonant delivery enhances Shah’s rich debut, bringing out Preeti’s anguish as she contends with divisive issues—immigration, sexuality, caste, and race—and struggles to reconcile her American upbringing with her Indian heritage and family history.

Stoppard, Tom. Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead. L.A. Theatre Works. ISBN 9781682661697. DRAMA

Performed with wit and gusto by a troupe of talented narrators, Stoppard’s Tony Award-winning play depicts the misadventures of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, two minor characters from Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Led by Adhir Kalyan and Matthew Wolf, the cast of narrators capture the hapless courtiers’ banter and metatheatrical comments with fantastic timing, creating laugh-aloud moments that may have listeners rewinding to experience it all again.

Stuart, Douglas. Young Mungo. Recorded Books. ISBN 9781705056554. F

Stuart’s gut-wrenching sophomore novel takes listeners to economically depressed, endemically alcoholic 1990s Glasgow, where 15-year-old Mungo lives in a council flat with his older sister, Jodie. Mungo finds sanctuary from his drunk, absentee mother and his Protestant gang leader brother with gentle, Catholic James, who is Mungo’s first, forbidden love. Glaswegian narrator Chris Reilly’s evocative Scottish dialect creates an authentic sense of place, conveying the tension and bleakness that govern Mungo’s world.

Wolf, Emily. My Thirty-First Year (And Other Calamities). Dreamscape Media. ISBN 9781666609059. F

Wolf’s enchanting debut focuses on 30-year-old Zoe Greene, whose life goes from fabulous to calamitous when heartbreaking events lead to her divorcing her husband, undergoing an abortion, and cautiously (and hilariously) re-entering the dating world. Narrator Cady Zuckerman’s flawless presentation of wounded, but resilient Zoe embodies her warmth and wittiness as she evolves from shell-shocked to hopeful. Superb characterizations round out this captivating production.


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