NZ Listener Best Books of 2023
Like every other girl in her class, twelve-year-old Justine is drawn to her glamorous, charismatic new teacher, and longs to be her pet. However, when a thief begins to target the school, Justine’s sense that something isn't quite right grows ever stronger. With each twist of the plot, this gripping story of deception and the corrosive power of guilt takes a yet darker turn. Young as she is, Justine must decide where her loyalties lie.
Set in New Zealand in 1984 and 2014, and probing themes of racism and misogyny, Pet is an elegant and chilling psychological thriller by the bestselling author of The Wish Child, Remote Sympathy and The Axeman’s Carnival.
'Piercing and magnificent.' —Lisa Adler, the Post
'This is a captivating and often unsettling read. Pet is that rare local phenomenon – a literary novel with not only nuanced characterisation, vivid descriptions, pitch-perfect dialogue and artful language but also a dramatic story with a propulsive narrative momentum.' —Sue Reidy, Aotearoa NZ Review of Books
'Yes, Catherine Chidgey is causing confusion but it’s worth being unsettled by one of our greatest writers as she demonstrates, once again, just how multitalented she is with this latest provocative and layered novel.' —Dionne Christian, Kete Books
'At its heart, Pet is a story about the temptations of charismatic and attractive characters who can take advantage of weakness and vulnerability.' —Philip Matthews, Newsroom
Catherine Chidgey’s novels have been published to international acclaim. Her first, In a Fishbone Church, won Best First Book at the New Zealand Book Awards and at the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize (South East Asia and South Pacific). In the UK it won the Betty Trask Award and was longlisted for the Orange Prize. Her second, Golden Deeds, was a Notable Book of the Year in the New York Times Book Review and a Best Book in the LA Times. Catherine has won the Prize in Modern Letters, the Katherine Mansfield Award, the Katherine Mansfield Fellowship, the Janet Frame Fiction Prize, and the Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize for The Wish Child. She lives in Ngāruawāhia and lectures in Creative Writing at the University of Waikato. Her 2020 novel, Remote Sympathy, was shortlisted for the DUBLIN Literary Award and the Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction, and was longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction. The Axeman’s Carnival was published in 2022.
Cover: Ocean Design