Liam Pieper

Penguin Random House Australia
12 March 2024


Liam Pieper

Everything in this world has a price. A great work of art is no exception. And what fortune was ever built without a little subterfuge?

Oli Darling is a queer artist from the country - it says so right at the top of every press release. His art has brought him fame, money, fashionable substance abuse issues and only a little imposter syndrome. But then he goes on live TV and says the one thing that can get a rich white guy cancelled.

With his reputation in tatters, nobody is buying Oli's schtick or his art. That's a problem for all the people who've invested millions in him. Powerful, dangerous people. To save his own skin, Oli will need to restore his public image. Together with a ghostwriter, he must do the most undignified thing imaginable- he will have to write a memoir.

So begins a journey through the underbelly of modern celebrity that sees Oli confront the consequences of his own ruthless mythmaking - lies he's told others, lies he's told himself. Perhaps he was right to feel like an imposter. And maybe the only way out is to take a good hard look at himself.

Outrageous satire of the highest order, Appreciation sets its sights on the question of authenticity in a time where image trumps talent, narcissism rules, and no canvas is so tarnished it can't be painted over.


Oliver Darling is a young(ish) queer artist from the country, according to his bio, who has made it big not only in the Australian art scene, but also internationally. If he were remotely competent with money, he would be extremely wealthy. Certainly, other people have seen a return on their investment in him. Quite how all this has come about appears a typical arts industry mystery but, ultimately, his success is perhaps no more perplexing than any other.

Oli’s new exhibition is coming up, and Anton, his agent, has booked a full day of publicity to remind everyone (not least ‘the Money’, ‘the Baron’, and ‘the Critic’) of Oli’s appeal. However, it turns out putting a (usually) charming and garrulous opinion chameleon – one in the habit of delivering meaningless one liners meaningfully, with or without the aid of illicit substances – on a live TV panel show is risky. After veering unexpectedly from his talking points into something unusually sacred to both the Right and Left, Oli is cancelled, almost unanimously. The only way forward is death, or memoir. Oh, and of course Oli will need to go on a speaking tour of regional schools.

Oli is ridiculous and recognisable, as are many aspects of the ecosystem within which he is fighting to survive. For so long things have gone his way, and now the tide is aggressively turning, he can’t help making things worse for himself – and for others, possibly not for the first time. Somehow, his plight is irresistibly compelling, as is the broader cast of characters – and their questionable antics and pets – along with the various capers that come together to make up the implausibly entertaining plot. It would spoil the book to give away more, but below the constant deceits and dramas, and the witty cynicism, is a clear love of creative endeavours and the people who are drawn to them. Appreciation is a deftly written satire littered with pithy truths.

This item is in-stock at 8 shops and will ship in 3-4 days

Our stock data is updated periodically, and availability may change throughout the day for in-demand items. Please call the relevant shop for the most current stock information. Prices are subject to change without notice.

Sign in or become a Readings Member to add this title to a wishlist.