Emily Bitto

The Strays

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'Remarkable first novel… vividly written, almost painterly'
The New York Times Book Review

On her first day at a new school, Lily befriends one of the daughters of infamous painter Evan Trentham. He and his wife are trying to escape the conservatism of 1930s Australia by inviting other like-minded artists to live at their home. Lily becomes infatuated with this wild, bohemian lifestyle and longs to truly be a part of the family.But as the years pass, Lily observes the way the lives of these artists come to reflect their art. Yet it's not Evan, but his own daughters, who pay the price for his radicalism. Almost 30 years later, Lily contemplates the ordinary path her own life took, how she has played it safe, but does freedom come at a cost?

Shortlisted for the HWA Debut Crown 2017Winner of the Stella Prize 2015
Winner of the Tina Kane Emergent Writers AwardUniversity of Canberra 'Book of the Year' 2016Longlisted for the Dublin IMPAC Literary AwardShortlisted for the Victorian Premier's Literary Award for an Unpublished ManuscriptShortlised for the Dobbie Literary AwardShortlisted for the Indie Book Award for Debut FictionShortlisted for the NSW Premier's Prize for New WritingShortlisted for an Amazon Rising Star AwardWalter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction ‘Academy Recommends’ Read

What Reviewers and Readers Say:

'…full of lush, mesmerizing detail' -- The New Yorker

'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

'…an immensely pleasurable read.' -- Bookseller + Publisher

'Emily Bitto has written a very stylish and enjoyable debut novel.' -- The Sunday Mail

'…a marvellously accomplished and assured debut… Rich in atmosphere and beautifully observed.' — Caroline Baum, Booktopia

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247 printed pages
Original publication
Publication year
Legend Press
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  • Sabina Karasevahas quoted6 years ago
    Evan and Helena were exotic in their desire to talk to one another, to be in each other’s company

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