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The Strays: A Novel
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Published:
Grand Central Publishing 2017
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Description
"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.
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
01/03/2017
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781478970972
ASIN:
B01F1UD5Y6
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Emily Bitto. (2017). The Strays: A Novel. Grand Central Publishing.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Emily Bitto. 2017. The Strays: A Novel. Grand Central Publishing.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Emily Bitto, The Strays: A Novel. Grand Central Publishing, 2017.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Emily Bitto. The Strays: A Novel. Grand Central Publishing, 2017. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 18:38:59
Date Updated:
Dec 06, 2020 02:47:32
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Jun 26, 2022 10:31:29
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Last Grouped Work Modification Time:
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        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.

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"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...
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fullDescription
"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.
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reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        October 3, 2016
        The lyrical first novel by Australian Bitto observes the life of a bohemian household in 1930s Melbourne from the point of view of one of the “strays” the artistic Trenthams take in. Narrator Lily, an only child, is eight when she meets Eva, who will be her best friend for years. Bored with her conventional parents, whose idea of a good time is a jigsaw puzzle and a cup of cocoa, she begins to spend weekends with Eva, who lives with her controversial painter father; Eva’s mother, whose inherited wealth supports the household; Eva’s mature older sister, Bea; and her troubled younger sister, Heloise. As the years go by, other artists and their partners join the household. Eva’s father’s status is threatened by a young artist whose works sell better than his, and the parents’ neglect of the children leads to a horrific outcome. Lily, in 1985 a professor of art history, is a thoughtful and articulate observer, aware of her own emotional investment in the family as well as of the many fractures within its seemingly structure. By placing her so firmly in a comfortable future, however, the core story loses much of its suspense, and too many of the novel’s crucial events take place offstage, described rather than depicted.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        October 15, 2016
        A first novel from Australia about an artist and his wealthy wife living with their three daughters on the creative edge in hidebound 1930s Melbourne.Narrator Lily is the 8-year-old only child of overprotective parents struggling their way through the Depression when she meets Eva Trentham and her two sisters, Bea and Heloise, at her new school. Entranced by Eva but also her glamorous mother, Helena, and painter father, Evan, who don't mind flouting convention, Lily is soon spending as much time as she can at their estatelike home, which has belonged to Helena's family for generations. Soon other young artists move in as the Trenthams experiment in creating a free-spirited bohemian utopia. Meanwhile Lily and Eva develop an intensely close friendship; author Bitto is particularly strong at portraying "the depth of intimacy in that first chaste trial marriage between girls." Drawn to the atmosphere of "carefree detachment" in which Helena and Evan raise their children--Evan unselfconsciously naked much of the time, Helena paying erratic attention to basic needs like food on the table--Lily yearns to be part of the family, not just a friend or guest. But what seems Edenic to Lily becomes increasingly problematic for the Trentham daughters, particularly the youngest, Heloise, whose emotional struggles no one takes seriously until too late. The dangers of the Trentham's creative neglect come to fruition when the girls blossom into puberty in close proximity to attractive male artists in their 20s. From the first page, a middle-aged Lily lets the reader know "it all fell apart." The novel is framed within Lily's preparations to attend a 1985 museum retrospective of a now-revered Evan's work, her visit to the now-elderly Trenthams, her first conversation with Eva since their relationship ruptured decades earlier, and her growing if conflicted desire to write a memoir about them all. Bitto adapts a leisurely storytelling pace that matches the period as she explores with quiet passion both the cost of creative life on family and the definition of family itself.

        COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        Starred review from October 15, 2016
        A note from an old friend sparks Lily's memory, and suddenly it's the 1930s again in Melbourne. Lily is nine, first meeting Eva, who will become her best friend. Eva's well-known artist father, Evan, is always busy painting, Lily learns, while Eva's beautiful mother, Helena, is always busy . . . being glamorous. Lily, fast becoming a witness to all this, is fascinated by the family's bohemian existence, their house always filled with other artists, some of whom actually live there in a kind of chaotic, de facto artist colony calling itself the Melbourne Modern Art Group. With the adults either occupied or careless, Eva and her two sisters are left on their ownstrays, their mother calls them, including Lily in their number, to Lily's delight. But what seems like a halcyon time changes suddenly when something nearly unimaginable happens, and Lily is left alone and friendless. Soon thereafter the novel flashes forward some 30 years as past and present come together in a melancholy denouement. Winner of Australia's Stella Prize, Bitto's novel is a haunting evocation of life-changing friendship. Stylishly written (an elegant woman is pale and long and light, like a taper ), 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.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2016, American Library Association.)

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        August 1, 2016

        This 1930s-set debut novel features young Lily, wowed by her new friend's bohemian household, which includes not only three sisters and their free-spirited parents but a whole clutch of artists in rebellion against conformist society. Winner of Australia's 2015 Stella Prize; with a 50,000-copy first printing.

        Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        February 1, 2017

        In 1930, eight-year-old Lily becomes instant best friends with Eva Trentham when they enter third grade in Melbourne, Australia. An only child, Lily is delighted to spend every spare moment at the sprawling Trentham enclave, a bohemian household headed by Eva's vulgar, self-centered, brilliant artist father, Evan, and his vigilant wife, Helena, a hot-and-cold maternal presence. Several young artists are drawn to the Trenthams' aura and eventually move in, and Lily herself is absorbed into the household. For a few years, the creative endeavors of the adults around her power an astonishing output of work, but as Lily, Eva, and her two equally beautiful sisters grow into adolescence, sexual tensions and artistic jealousies among the residents lead to a shocking scandal that shreds the household's fragile balance of talent and self-absorption and leads to the implosion of Lily's and Eva's friendship. VERDICT Published in Australia in 2014, this debut novel is a layered tapestry of family half-truths, deceit, and desire stretching across five decades, with blurred lines tangling the lives of Lily and Eva and thwarting Lily's quest for resolution and redemption. Reminiscent of Ian McEwan's Atonement yet uniquely, gorgeously Bitto's own. [See Prepub Alert, 7/1/16.]--Beth Andersen, formerly with Ann Arbor Dist. Lib., MI

        Copyright 2017 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        Starred review from February 1, 2017

        In 1930, eight-year-old Lily becomes instant best friends with Eva Trentham when they enter third grade in Melbourne, Australia. An only child, Lily is delighted to spend every spare moment at the sprawling Trentham enclave, a bohemian household headed by Eva's vulgar, self-centered, brilliant artist father, Evan, and his vigilant wife, Helena, a hot-and-cold maternal presence. Several young artists are drawn to the Trenthams' aura and eventually move in, and Lily herself is absorbed into the household. For a few years, the creative endeavors of the adults around her power an astonishing output of work, but as Lily, Eva, and her two equally beautiful sisters grow into adolescence, sexual tensions and artistic jealousies among the residents lead to a shocking scandal that shreds the household's fragile balance of talent and self-absorption and leads to the implosion of Lily's and Eva's friendship. VERDICT Published in Australia in 2014, this debut novel is a layered tapestry of family half-truths, deceit, and desire stretching across five decades, with blurred lines tangling the lives of Lily and Eva and thwarting Lily's quest for resolution and redemption. Reminiscent of Ian McEwan's Atonement yet uniquely, gorgeously Bitto's own. [See Prepub Alert, 7/1/16.]--Beth Andersen, formerly with Ann Arbor Dist. Lib., MI

        Copyright 2017 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

subtitle
A Novel
popularity
279
publisher
Grand Central Publishing
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