A Short History of Richard Kline

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I woke with a gasp. And lay in the dark, open-mouthed, holding my breath. That feeling . . . that feeling was indescribable. For a moment I had felt as if I were falling . . . falling into bliss.

All his life, Richard Kline has been haunted by a sense that something is lacking. He envies the ease with which others slip into contented suburban life or the pursuit of wealth. As he moves into middle age, Richard grows angry, cynical, depressed.

But then a strange event, a profound epiphany, awakens him to a different way of life. He finds himself on a quest, almost against his will, to resolve the “divine discontent” he has suffered since childhood. From pharmaceuticals to New Age therapies to finding a guru, Richard's journey dramatises the search for meaning in today's world.

This audacious novel is an exploration of masculinity, the mystical and our very human yearning for something more. It is hypnotic, nuanced and Amanda Lohrey's finest offering yet - a pilgrim's progress for the here and now.

Shortlisted, 2015 Queensland Literary Awards
Shortlisted, 2015 Tasmanian Premier's Literary Prizes
Longlisted, 2016 Stella Prize

‘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

‘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

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

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 Essays: Groundswell and Voting for Jesus. In 2012 she was awarded the Patrick White Literary Award.