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The Conversion

The conversion was Nick’s idea.

Nick: so persuasive, ever the optimist, still boyishly handsome. Always on a quest to design the perfect environment, convinced it could heal a wounded soul.

The conversion was Nick’s idea, but it’s Zoe who’s here now, in a valley of old coalmines and new vineyards, working out how to live in a deconsecrated church.

What to do with all that vertical space, those oppressive stained-glass windows? Can a church become a home or, even with all its vestiges removed, will it remain forever what it was intended to be?

For Zoe, alone and troubled by a ghost from the recent past, the little church seems empty of the possibilities Nick enthused about. She is stuck in purgatory—until a determined young teacher pushes her way into Zoe’s life, convinced of her own peculiar mission for the building.

Melanie has something of Nick’s unquenchable zeal about her. And it’s clear to Zoe that she won’t take no for an answer.

The Conversion is a startling novel about the homes we live in: how we shape them, and how they shape us. Like Amanda Lohrey’s bestselling The Labyrinth, it is distinguished by its deep intelligence, eye for human drama and effortless readability.


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Amanda Lohrey
About the Author

Amanda Lohrey lives in Tasmania and writes fiction and non-fiction. She has taught at the University of Tasmania, the University of Technology Sydney and the University of Queensland. Amanda is a regular contributor to the Monthly magazine and a former senior fellow of the Australia Council’s Literature Board. She received the 2012 Patrick White...

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Text publication date:
31 October 2023
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Praise for Amanda Lohrey
andThe Conversion

The Conversion takes on a dreamy tone to explore the complexities of love, loss, family and home…The process of grief is rarely logical and straightforward, and in reflecting this, the book holds true.’

‘Lohrey delves into grief-induced purgatory and the meaning of home, especially in times of upheaval.’

‘Buy this one. [Amanda Lohrey’s] brilliant.’

‘Written in Lohrey’s familiar economical prose and exhibiting a fascination with the space we inhabit, The Conversion is an absorbing fiction of dealing with people and events from the past, and finding a way into the future.’

‘One of the things Lohrey does is to take quite portentious, serious things and put them in ordinary contexts and see if they work, see what they mean when you put them in that setting.’

‘We see [Lohrey’s] interest in place, in buildings, in physical spaces, but also in therapy and psychiatry…I really enjoy what Amanda Lohrey has done by keeping us guessing in this novel.’

‘Astonishing and beguiling.’

‘Amanda Lohrey’s ninth novel, The Conversion, is filled with intrusions, insistence, and ghosts…In this blazing, layered, bravura novel, Lohrey probes the dreamed, remembered, and hoped-for in an anatomy of freedom and aftermath.’

‘This is what Lohrey does best: she seeks to appreciate the internal ponderings of many and then to package them into a compassionate story, using characters that are finely attuned to our own meandering thoughts…This novel is perfect for long-term fans and alos for readers of Ann Patchett and Alice Munro. Their ability to record every day ordinariness is what makes these writers extraordinary. Read The Conversion to be still, and to marvel.’

‘Lohrey delves into the places we call home, exploring the intricate dance between our influence on them and their transformative impact on us.’

The Conversion delves into what it means to change one thing into another thing, exploring ideas of conversion that range from everyday renovation to the allure of religious cults and the meaning of our ever-updating culture.’

The Conversion is both highly readable and deeply thoughtful. Come for the real estate and stay for the revelations about what our built environments—both the sacred and the secular—say about who we are.’

The Conversion is a gentle meditation on grief, space and the idea of belonging.’

‘An incisive commentary on contemporary material, social and cultural values.’

‘The distinctive depth of characterisation shines in this tightly knitted story.’

‘Lohrey revisits the terrain of her Miles Franklin Award-winning The Labyrinth to create another meditative and rewarding read.’

‘Amanda Lohrey makes writing look effortless: every sentence is a pleasure to read. Her characters immediately come alive on the page…The Conversion is a beautifully written, quietly profound novel that explores purgatories of the past and present as its characters move between and meditate on structural and personal conversion.’

‘Beautifully written.’

Other editions ofThe Conversion
  • The Conversion
    ISBN: 9781922791610
    31 October 2023
    Buy ebook