The Strays is a haunting, addictive tale about the friendship between Lily, a working-class only child, and the daughters of an eccentric and celebrated avant-garde artist. As Lily becomes obsessed with their family, so do we. But, of course, things are not always as they seem. Recommended By Moses M., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
For readers of Atonement, a powerful and haunting story of three sisters and their friend who grow up on the outskirts of their parents' glamorous bohemian lifestyle.
On her first day at a new school, Lily befriends one of the daughters of infamous avant-garde painter Evan Trentham. Lily has never experienced anything like the Trenthams' home, where Evan and his wife have created a wild, makeshift family of like-minded artists, all living and working together to escape the stifling conservatism of 1930's Australia. An only child accustomed to loneliness, Lily soon becomes infatuated with the creative chaos of the Trenthams and aches to fully belong.
Despite the Trenthams' glamorous allure, the artists' real lives are shaped by dire Faustian bargains and spectacular falls from grace. As the girls find themselves drawn closer to the white-hot flame of creativity, emotions and art collide with explosive consequences — and Evan's own daughters may be forced to pay a dangerous price for his choices.
"A haunting evocation of life-changing friendship...The Strays is a marvel of setting and characterization, re-creating a time of artistic revolution and personal revelation. Memorable and moving, this is a novel not to be missed."
Booklist (Starred Review)
"Reminiscent of Ian McEwan's Atonement, Sybille Bedford's Jigsaw, or A.S. Byatt's The Children's Book...The Strays is like a gemstone: polished and multifaceted, reflecting illuminations back to the reader and holding rich colour in its depths."
Stella Prize Judges' Report
"Emily Bitto writes so well about art, childhood, infatuation, loneliness — you name it. The Strays is a knowing novel, and beautifully done."
Meg Wolitzer, New York Times bestselling author of The Interestings
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 owns and runs a successful wine bar called Heartattack and Vine.