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The Strays (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews


This award-winning debut by an Australian author had me staying up late to discover what happened next.  Ms. Bitto uses research into depression-era Australia and an actual group of artists from that time as inspiration for a completely fictional tale of an artist colony and the ramifications of strangers living in close proximity. While I hate it when blurbs compare it to other books I love - in this case Atonement - as that sets the bar far too high, I really enjoyed this and truly look forward to what Ms. Bitto pens next. A great book for art lovers in particular, or for those interested in a novel about adolescent love, and/or the fallout from certain choices.

— From Lisa's Picks

Description


A New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice

"Disturbing and magical....with a grace and eloquence." - NPR Books

"Full of lush, mesmerizing detail and keen insight into the easy intimacy between young girls which disappears with adulthood." - The New Yorker

"THE STRAYS is a knowing novel, and beautifully done." - Meg Wolitzer, New York Times bestselling author of The Interestings

For readers of Atonement, a hauntingly powerful story about the fierce friendship between three sisters and their friend as they grow up on the outskirts of their parents' wild and bohemian artistic lives.

On her first day at a new school, Lily befriends Eva and her sisters Beatrice and Heloise, daughters of the infamous avant-garde painter Evan Trentham. An only child from an unremarkable, working-class family, Lily has never experienced a household like the Trenthams'--a community of like-minded artists Evan and his wife have created, all living and working together to escape the stifling conservatism of 1930's Australia. And Lily has never met anyone like Eva, whose unabashed confidence and worldly knowledge immediately draw her in.

Infatuated by the creative chaos of the Trenthams and the artists who orbit them, Lily aches to fully belong in their world, craving something beyond her own ordinary life. She becomes a fixture in their home, where she and Eva spend their days lounging in the garden, filching cigarettes and wine, and skirting the fringes of the adults' glamorous lives, who create scandalous art during the day and host lavish, debauched parties by night. But as seductive as the artists' utopian vision appears, behind it lies both darkness and dysfunction. And the further the girls are pulled in, the greater the consequences become.

With elegance and vibrancy, THE STRAYS evokes the intense bonds of girlhood friendships, the volatile undercurrents of a damaged family, and the yearning felt by an outsider looking in.

About the Author


Emily Bitto has a Masters in Literary Studies and a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Melbourne. She lives in Melbourne, Australia, where she also co-owns the Carlton wine bar, Heartattack and Vine.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781455537723
ISBN-10: 1455537721
Publisher: Twelve
Publication Date: January 3rd, 2017
Pages: 256
Language: English