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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 Shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award Prize for an Unpublished Manuscript 2013, the Indie Book Award for Debut Fiction 2015, the Dobbie Literary Award 2015, and the NSW Premier’s UTA Glenda Adams Award 2015.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.

©2014 Emily Bitto (P)2015 Audible, Ltd.

Critic Reviews

"Treating this novel as a historical fiction risks missing some of its breadth of insight. The Strays is an eloquent portrayal of the damage caused by self-absorption as well as a moving study of isolation." ( The Saturday Age)
"Bitto writes beautifully, her prose supple and satisfying, her insights and extended metaphors worth lingering over. Of particular note are her characters’ perceptive comments on art and her visceral understanding of the only child’s ever-unrequited hunger for inclusion - an inclusion that always falls short of the familial, however vexed or careless that familial connection may appear." ( The Adelaide Advertiser)
"Emily Bitto has written a very stylish and enjoyable debut novel." ( The Sunday Mail)

What listeners say about The Strays

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Profile Image for meBanana
  • meBanana
  • 12-20-21

I had no idea what to expect but I will never forget this book

I wanted to listen to fiction by female Australian authors and for some reason or other, I chanced upon The Strays, the debut novel by Emily Bitto. I am now forever ensconced in the Trentham family and reminded of art’s place in our history. Not just in Australia but throughout time. The choices we make, the paths we follow. The value or curse of a free spirit. Ego and ambition. The class we chance to be born into. The friends we believe will be impossible to lose connection with. It’s all in this book. Highly recommend.