On her first day at a new school, Lily befriends one of the daughters of infamous avant-garde painter Evan Trentham. He and his wife are trying to escape the stifling conservatism of 1930s Australia by inviting other like-minded artists to live and work at their family home.
Lily becomes infatuated with this wild, makeshift family and longs to truly be a part of it. As the years pass, Lily observes the way the lives of these artists come to reflect the same themes as their art: Faustian bargains and spectacular falls from grace. Yet it's not Evan but his own daughters who pay the price for his radicalism.
The Strays is an engrossing story of ambition, sacrifice and compromised loyalties from an exciting new talent.
"Emily Bitto writes so well about art, childhood, infatuation, loneliness – you name it. The Strays is a knowing novel, and beautifully done." (Meg Wolitzer, author of The Interestings)
"Stylishly written… The Strays is a marvel of setting and characterisation, re-creating a time of artistic revolution and personal revelation. Memorable and moving, this is a novel not to be missed." (Booklist)
"Riveting, captivation, with a sense of foreboding threaded throughout. The Strays is such a daring look at art and love and family that you’ll want to clear your calendar: you’ll be reading it in a day." (Whitney Otto, New York Times bestselling author of How To Make An American Quilt and Six Girls Taking Pictures)
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Not a page turner
- Ruth Bain
Fictional art history + family dysfunction
- robin l. heriges