Chidgey is an agile writer, and here fuses pacy storytelling with some resonant metaphors ... The drama to come is hinted at early and often but even so, the darkness of the novel’s denouement is hard to fully anticipate ... As satisfying a narrative as Pet is, lingering uncertainty is the source of its real power, enabling it to maintain its hold over the imagination long after the final page has been turned.
Chidgey’s examination of sexual politics is ruthless ... The novel hums with the low-level fever of adolescent boredom and betrayal ... Chidgey’s grasp of the slipperiness and self-delusion of memory – from Justine as an increasingly unreliable narrator, to her father’s later dementia – is faultless.
Chidgey is excellent at infusing Justine’s memories with a creeping unease. An unreliable narrator – there are black spots in her memory from seizures she experienced – the burgeoning suspense is expertly controlled until the formidable denouement ... In addition to the compelling central plot, Chidgey deftly integrates casual sexism; racism; objectification of women; and oppression by the Catholic church into her imagining of this claustrophobic community.