by Emily Bitto
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.
Praise for The Strays
‘The Strays deftly weaves together the past and the present in a compelling exploration of belonging, loyalty and ambition.’
– Paddy O’Reilly
‘This is a beautifully written novel: intelligent, lyrical and wondrous. Bitto is an elegant writer who knows how to sustain suspense.’
– Kalinda Ashton
‘The Strays is a perfectly crafted novel … an immediately engaging and tender story taking hold of the reader from the first pages. Emily Bitto is without doubt a writer to remember and follow in the future.’
– Tony Birch
Emily Bitto has a Masters in Literary Studies and a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Melbourne, where she is also a sessional teacher and supervisor in the creative writing program. The manuscript of her debut novel, The Strays, was shortlisted
for the 2013 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript.