by Amanda Lohrey
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Pub Date 31 Oct 2023 | Archive Date 14 Nov 2023
From Amanda Lohrey, author of the Miles Franklin Award-winning THE LABYRINTH.
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.
Praise for Amanda Lohrey and THE LABYRINTH: Winner of the 2021 Miles Franklin Literary Award
‘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.’—Rebecca Starford
‘Lohrey’s writing is excellent, and she mixes pastoral and gothic tropes beautifully.’—Books+Publishing
‘A beautiful, brutal book that I experienced as both earthy and unearthly. I loved it.’—Laura McPhee-Browne
‘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.’—Fiona Place
‘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.‘—Saturday Paper
‘Amanda Lohrey might be described as a writer’s writer: proficient in short and long form fiction and a veteran of the essay. Her writing is the literature of ideas. Her new novel, The Labyrinth, uses the idea of the labyrinth as its key organising principle, containing echoes and repetitions throughout to weave together a haunting narrative about loss and self-understanding…Lohrey’s descriptions are elegant and transfixing…There is something dreamlike about the novel.’—Australian
‘The Labyrinth is an impressive addition to Lohrey’s body of fiction, which always has philosophical foundations for its warmly human stories. Here the characters and ideas are deftly integrated into a short novel of deep wisdom about nature and art, men and women, motherhood and home…Elegant sentences move with the mindful pace of footsteps on a pathway.’—SMH/Age
‘This is a book about being a parent, building or making…as therapy, and the inability to be truly alone in today’s society…The pace of the book reflects the contemplative nature of walking a labyrinth, both the inner one and the physical one that mirrors it.’—Herald Sun
‘A deeply meditative book…[Amanda Lohrey’s] writing here is beautifully layered, rich in imagery and meaning, without ever being laboured…The Labyrinth offers a pull towards the unknown and a comfort in solitude. It is a sharply tuned novel, a sprawling narrative that resists rigid expectations, instead allowing those who inhabit the pages to surrender themselves to the mode of “reversible destiny” that it is constructed around.‘—Guardian
‘Haunting…A meditation on fundamental patterns in nature and in familial relations…[with a] narrative so bracing—like salt spray stinging your face—that one is borne forward inexorably…Taut, deftly edited…The novel’s story is stark, unflinching—gothic without contrivance…Summary does scant justice to the subtlety and power of Lohrey’s writing…Every page of this densely populated novel, with its incised landscape, shimmers.’—Australian Book Review