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Erica Marsden’s son, an artist, has been imprisoned for homicidal negligence. In a state of grief, Erica cuts off all ties to family and friends, and retreats to a quiet hamlet on the south-east coast near the prison where he is serving his sentence.
There, in a rundown shack, she obsesses over creating a labyrinth by the ocean. To build it—to find a way out of her quandary—Erica will need the help of strangers. And that will require her to trust, and to reckon with her past.
The Labyrinth is a hypnotic story of guilt and denial, of the fraught relationship between parents and children, that is also a meditation on how art can both be ruthlessly destructive and restore sanity. It shows Amanda Lohrey to be at the peak of her powers.
‘The story of Richard Kline is marked by a…luminous wit, along with the quiet courage of a mind willing to countenance mysteries that our secular age refuses to broach.’
‘Amanda Lohrey is an author of exquisite subtlety and wry humour. Her ability to draw out the quieter nuances of the human condition is evidenced again in A Short History of Richard Kline, in which she has crafted a male character of great depth.’
‘Extraordinarily vivid and compelling…a stunning and memorable novella’
‘Hypnotic and beautiful, The Labyrinth forces us to reckon with how our deepest bonds can inflict the most pain. Amid this coil of darkness, however, is the novel’s unfailing light: that hope and redemption are always found in art and creation.’
‘ The Labyrinth is Amanda Lohrey’s wisest and most intimate novel yet—luminous, full of sharp-edged beauty and illuminating questions about how we should live our lives. It asks, most simply, how to keep going in the wake of a disaster that has no neat ending. This is a novel in which nothing is out of place—every word and image resonates.’
‘Lohrey’s writing is excellent, and she mixes pastoral and gothic tropes beautifully.’
‘A beautiful, brutal book that I experienced as both earthy and unearthly. I loved it.’
‘Not a book to be analysed but a book to experience. It is compelling, visceral and deeply moving…It is delicate yet strong. Painful yet regenerative.’
‘Iridescent…The Labyrinth is a nuanced and engrossing novel of bread and bones broken, the trace and rack of violence, and threads that lead the way out of exile.‘
‘Lohrey’s writing ensures we invest in and understand a mother’s intense need for forgiveness…I do believe that this novel is her very best. It is perfectly balanced and completely masterful. Fans of Alice Munro and Anne Tyler will rejoice in this kind of Australian story.’