Big Read

Books of the year: the critics’ choice

The task of choosing from the bulging shelves of your favourite bookshop can be daunting, but our reviewers John Walshe, Andrew Lynch and Andrea Cleary are here to help – naming the books that stood out from the crowd in 2022, along with their overall favourite in each category

John Walshe, Andrew Lynch and Andrea Cleary have chosen their book recommendations for this year as well as their overall favourite in each category


Homesickness by Colin Barrett

Colin Barrett’s second collection of short stories is full of the kind of down-at-heel characters that resonate with the unhappy edginess of real life. Would-be poet Bobby Tallis is brilliantly unlikeable, brimming over with spite, jealousy and a jumped-up sense of his own importance. Conversely, there’s a real sense of loss about Danny Faulkner, whose dreams of making it in the Premier League have evaporated, leaving him back in Ballina and working in his father’s Nissan dealership while avoiding his former youth soccer coach. Pick of the bunch is The Alps, surely a film waiting to be made – think Samuel Beckett directed by Quentin Tarantino – as a katana-wielding stranger walks into the members’ bar of a Mayo GAA club. JW