NZ Listener Best Books of 2023
Audition is hurtling through space towards the event horizon. Squashed immobile into its rooms are three giants: Alba, Stanley and Drew. If they talk, the spaceship keeps moving; if they are silent, they resume growing.
Talk they must, and as they do, Alba, Stanley and Drew recover their shared memory of what has been done to their incarcerated former selves. Or are they constructing those selves from memory-scripts that have been implanted in them?
Part science fiction, part social realism, Audition asks what happens when systems of power decide someone takes up too much room – and about how we live with each other’s violences – and imagines a new kind of justice.
'Pip Adam is one of my favourite authors and Audition is my new favourite book. . . . A powerful work of social commentary, a bodily exploration and a feat of imagination, all written with Adam’s trademark poise: this is the genre-bending book of the year.' —Laura Jean McKay
'This is exciting and inventive writing in the hands of an extraordinary writer. . . . Readers may find themselves equal parts unmoored and floored by this thrilling novel. I haven’t stopped thinking about it.' —Deborah Crabtree, Books+Publishing
'Strange and wondrous and disquieting.'—Sarah Laing, Newsroom
'On one level, reading the strange and wonderful Audition is like listening to a concept album of experimental music that samples the familiar and turns it into the uncanny, where each track builds on the last until finally the listener floats off on an ecstatic bed of epic electonica. Rather than emulating what has gone before, it adds to a cumulative understanding of realms outside our ken, and asks us to critically examine our society – our systems, our prejudice, and our violence – by imagining worlds beyond our own.' —Rachael King, NZ Listener
'Audition is in the great tradition of Pedro Paramo by Juan Rulfo or The Invention of Morel by Adolfo Bioy Casares – brief books that carry the weight of much longer volumes and are at once hallucinogenic, convincingly imagined and demanding your attention. It loses nothing by comparison with its antecedents.' —Paul Little, North and South
'Profoundly anti-carceral, abundantly queer, and weird as fuck, Audition will lead you to spine-tingling places if you are willing to navigate its corridors.' —Casey Lucas, bad apple
'A fine example of Pip Adam’s ingenuity and imagination . . . Adam’s world-building is its own precisely constructed and glorious reimagining of our universe.' —Angelique Kasmara, Aotearoa New Zealand Review of Books
'Adam has written not only an excellent book, but one of the most pointedly political acknowledgements that I have ever read.' —Laura Borrowdale, Hokitika Guardian
Praise for Nothing to See
'A total masterpiece. Gripping, weird, funny, close to the bone. An intense portrait of sobriety, a mystery, a sci-fi novel, an urgent book about living in our panoptical present.' —Das Kois, author of The Vintage Contemporaries
Pip Adam's previous books are Nothing to See (2020), which was shortlisted for the Acorn Foundation Prize for Fiction, The New Animals (2017), which won the Acorn Foundation Prize for Fiction, I'm Working on a Building (2013), and the short story collection Everything We Hoped For (2010), which won the NZSA Hubert Church Best First Book Award for Fiction in 2011. Audition will be published in Australia by Giramondo and in the UK by Peninsula Press. Pip works at an access radio station which makes radio by, for and about communities not usually heard in mainstream media. She makes the Better off Read podcast.
Cover: Philip Kelly