The Labyrinth by Amandra Lohrey – Book Review

Erica Marsden has moved to a small town to be near her son who is serving an extended period in prison. As she deals with her relationship with him, both current and past, she decides to build a labyrinth on her new property.

It was hearing Marsden talk about this in an interview shortly after being awarded the Miles Franklins Award that I gained a better understanding of labyrinths. I equated labyrinths with mazes, but while similar there are several differences. The labyrinth in this book is the contemplating type of labyrinth – one often found in churches and hospitals, that allow the user to walk the path to help still the mind. Mardsen mentioned several different styles in the book, and thank goodness for the internet. I look forward to travelling again one day, and to being able to walk labyrinths across the world.

I thought, heading in to this book, that it would be deep and heavy, and certainly Erica has deep and heavy thoughts. But as much as it is about her guilt and how she must face what her son has done, it is about community and unlikely characters coming together. It was thoroughly believable and thoroughly enjoyable.

The Labyrinth was awarded the Miles Franklin Literary Award in 2021.

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