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Publisher's Summary

Winner of the 2015 Stella Prize. Shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award Prize for an Unpublished Manuscript 2013, the Indie Book Award for Debut Fiction 2015, the Dobbie Literary Award 2015, and the NSW Premier’s UTA Glenda Adams Award 2015. Longlisted for the Dublin IMPAC Prize 2015.
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.
©2016 Emily Bitto (P)2016 Audible, Ltd
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Critic Reviews

"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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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By RueRue on 04-13-17

Not a page turner

Although the characters are interesting and the story has a unique setting ( an artists' communein Australia, late 1930's) the narrative seemed a bit stagent. Too much digression into the nature of art. It was all too apparent that the children in the story were victims of highly dysfunctional and neglectful parenting.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful


By robin l. heriges on 09-18-17

Fictional art history + family dysfunction

I really liked this book, but be prepared for sadness. The reader did an excellent job of distinguishing all of the characters' voices.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By fluffy on 02-26-17

The Strays a story of wealth happiness disjointed families and surprise!

Starting to read this book I was unsure,would it hold my interest?
The family,the art and the circles made,were all poignant at times sad and pulled me in.
The writer for me was clever with the involvement not only of family growth but of the surroundings.
I would not hesitate to read another book by this author.

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