The New Animals (Paperback)
Set in the Auckland fashion scene in 2016, The New Animals moves over the course of one night through the hopes, misapprehensions, resentments, and regrets of a small group of fashion-industry workers, divided by generation and class. The young and rich act like nothing can touch them; the tired Gen-Xers feel forever adrift. On this particularly stressful night, hairdressers, patternmakers, stylists, and a makeup artist are tasked with preparing for a last-minute photoshoot without clothes or clear directions. Caught up in the small dramas of their lives, while around them the world is fast becoming uninhabitable, the group toils against the impossible pressure until one of them decides to break away.
Like a twisted contemporary heir to Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse, The New Animals is a brilliant and unforgettable dive beneath the surface of life, uncovering the common ground of humanity, as well as the common plight.
“The New Animals is a prescient novel centering on the beauty and fashion industries and the people who run (or are run by) them. It is a genre-jumping and layered novel, by turns hilarious and humane, then spiky with frustration and heartache.” —The Rumpus
“The New Animals by Pip Adam is a secretly speculative novel that follows a multi-generational group of people through one manic night in Auckland. . . . The novel’s central concern is how much a body can change. Can we change fast enough to keep up with our rapidly disintegrating world?” —Necessary Fiction
“The New Animals was first published in 2017. The following year, it won the Acorn Foundation Prize for Fiction, New Zealand’s biggest book prize, its answer to the National Book Award. Prior to winning, reviews were scarce, and when the book was reviewed, the coverage was fairly negative. It got to the point where novelist Carl Shuker wrote an essay telling the country’s reviewers to open their eyes and realize that a master was at work. He asked, ‘What the fuck are we doing in this country when we are not reviewing and talking about this book?’ New Zealand’s literary community is a fairly small pond, and it’s not often that shots are fired so eagerly, so readily, into the crowd. But Shuker was right: Adam is undoubtedly one of the country’s best writers. . . . The New Animals might not be an easy read, but it is an important one.” —Los Angeles Review of Books
“A less ambitious, less confident writer might not want to disorient their readers with such experimentation. But Pip Adam would rather have us experience these ideas and be inundated by them." —Clara Sankey, The Believer
“Thorny, funny, shocking, brilliant. Trust me when I tell you you have no idea where this novel is going.” —Dan Kois, author of Vintage Contemporaries
“The New Animals is fiction that doesn’t sit still, that shifts and shimmers as you read. It is in equal measure steely and self-delighting; it has little mercy. . . . It is willing to leap into the surreal in order to capture the weird violence and strangeness of being alive in this post-colonial island nation in the 21st century.” —Anna Smaill, NZ Listener
“I held my breath while reading Pip Adam’s The New Animals. As a writer, it was the type of book that makes you marvel at Adam’s fearlessness. I wanted to tell everybody about it. . . . The New Animals is a dark book. But far from being unlikeable, its characters are thrillingly and heartbreakingly alive. The book is a cry for human emotion where human emotions are constantly being wiped clean. . . . It left me stunned and heartbroken.” —Brannavan Gnanalingam, The Spinoff