A Short History of Richard Kline by Amanda Lohrey | Black Inc.

A Short History of Richard Kline

Book club notes

Awards for A Short History of Richard Kline

Shortlisted, 2015 Queensland Literary Awards

Shortlisted, 2015 Tasmanian Premier's Literary Prizes

Longlisted, 2016 Stella Prize

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About the author

Amanda Lohrey

Amanda Lohrey is the author of the acclaimed novels Camille’s Bread, Vertigo and The Morality of Gentlemen, as well as the award-winning short story collection Reading Madame Bovary. She has also written two Quarterly …

More about Amanda Lohrey

Praise for A Short History of Richard Kline

‘This is at once a quiet, searching novel, and yet bold and daring. [Lohrey] takes us sensitively and tenderly through Richard’s searching and yearning for authenticity and meaning. Such a focused, deep and searching examination of the inner life is not an easy subject for a novel, but I found it fascinating.’ —Books & Publishing


‘Lohrey handles [her] material with masterly control, taking the reader on a contemporary pilgrimage full of insight… It is an enlightening experience.’ —Caroline Baum, Booktopia

‘Lohrey’s deft prose and sensitivity to the complexity of portraying her character’s inner life lends Kline’s spiritual quest a level of authenticity that feels utterly convincing. This is a fascinating read by one of Australia’s finest contemporary writers.’ —Sally Keighery, Readings


‘An ambitious exploration of discontent.’ —ANZ LitLovers


‘Thoughtful and beautifully written’ —Courier Mail


‘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.’ —Australian


‘A moving search for meaning.’ —Qantas the Australian Way


‘[A] lyrical, bold exploration’ —Australian Book Review


‘Richard is a surprisingly compelling antihero. Like a black hole, he emits a gravitational pull, with a great deal of matter about life, work and relationships packed into 258 pages. The veracity and velocity of Lohrey’s prose and the intensely drawn characters…are the keys to the book’s grip.’ —Herald Sun


‘A great example of a book that puts you inside someone else’s shoes, mind and soul.’ —Raf Epstein, Drive on ABC 774

‘To reveal too much would be to spoil the twists and turns that are crucial to this astonishing novel… pure pleasure’ —Country Style


‘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.’ —Mercury


‘Kline’s despair is real and this novel recounts one man’s halting progress to the world of re-connection.’ —Australian Women's Weekly


‘Another deft life-study by Amanda Lohrey, whose recent narratives have a sardonic edge with metaphysical reach.’ —Monthly

‘Amanda Lohrey is such a strange, surprising and sobering writer. I loved A Short History of Richard Kline - it was so utterly normal and revealing at the same time. She reminds me of Coetzee and Marilynne Robinson in her uniqueness, and her ability to reflect to the reader what they already know but have probably tried to bury deep inside themselves or just simply rejected outright. Her prose is so exact and doesn't feel the need to dazzle and distract the reader - much like the two writers I mentioned above. In this way it is kind of difficult to explain why A Short History of Richard Kline is so good. Praise isn't really sufficient and besides, it seems a bit gaudy next to Lohrey's honesty. It's more that you know the character, Richard, worse, he is you - and I'd never thought him worthy of a novel because his journey is so utterly familiar, but then Lohrey just shows that up - of course it's worthy, if not completely necessary.’— Anna Krien, author of Night Games


‘Without judgement, emotion or editorial comment in her customary lucid, intelligent prose Lohrey makes [Richard’s] existential dilemma and its solution-in-progress unexpectedly compelling.’ —Adelaide Advertiser


‘Lohrey’s language throughout the novel is a searing delight … Without patronising, disparaging or becoming a sentimental accomplice, she gets inside the head of a serious man congenitally on the brink.’ —Age


‘As a novel about our interior life and how we deal with our best and worse qualities, Lohrey has tackled a complex and open-ended topic with great insight and deliberation … A Short History of Richard Kline is a wonderful novel that will amuse and cause the reader to reflect on their own “burden of personality”.’ —Hoopla


‘The nature of such mystical questing requires a steadiness of pace and a commanding style in order to prevent it floating up and away into the unfathomable … Lohrey’s skill is in keeping us suspended in the cocoon of an idea – \Is this all there is?\ – a question that hums in and out of our own lives during the day, but which can suddenly ring out on dark nights with a deafening thunder.’ —Saturday Paper


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