The Strays

The Strays

A Novel

Book - 2017
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On her first day at a new school, Lily befriends one of the daughters of infamous avant-garde painter Evan Trentham. Lily has never experienced anything like the Trenthams' home, where Evan and his wife have created a wild, makeshift family of like-minded artists, all living and working together to escape the stifling conservatism of 1930's Australia. An only child accustomed to loneliness, Lily soon becomes infatuated with the creative chaos of the Trenthams and aches to fully belong. Despite the Trenthams' glamorous allure, the artists' real lives are shaped by dire Faustian bargains and spectacular falls from grace. As the girls find themselves drawn closer to the white-hot flame of creativity, emotions and art collide with explosive consequences--and Evan's own daughters may be forced to pay a dangerous price for his choices.
Publisher: Toronto, Ontario :, Hamish Hamilton, an imprint of Penguin Canada,, 2017
Copyright Date: ©2014
ISBN: 9780670070084
Branch Call Number: F BIT
Characteristics: 290 pages ; 22 cm


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May 31, 2017

I really enjoyed this book about the ups and downs in the friendship of two women who meet at a very young age at school. Interesting contrast between the only-child's typical 1930's family and the other child's bohemian family's lifestyle. Very interesting story and great writing!

Mar 10, 2017

I found this story of the Melbourne bohemian art scene of the 1930s clichéd and stereotyped and it was, in places, overwritten.

Mar 03, 2017

Very good , easy read.
Good plot, and better characters.
A story about belonging , envy and neglect.

Feb 12, 2017

Only child Lily is introduced to charismatic Eva on her first day at a new school, then introduced to Eva’s sisters Beatrice and Heloise at recess. ‘The Strays’ follows these girls for the next six years and looks back on this time from Lily’s adulthood. Eva’s family are the Trentham’s; the father is an artist in Australia’s Modernist movement of the 1930s. He and his wife form a collective with other aspiring artists and as Lily spends more time with them, finds new definitions for ‘home’ and ‘family.’

Amazing debut novel; it’s written like a memoir, but with secrets the author slowly reveals by the end.

stewaroby Aug 19, 2015

Winner of the 2015 Stella Prize for women's writing.

Jun 14, 2015

Evocative of the John and Sunday Reed circle of artists at Heide, this book is a beautifully rendered fictional depiction of lost innocence, girlhood friendship, secrecy and family. The narrative switches confidently between the 1930s and 1980s, the descriptive passages are beautifully rendered, and it has authenticity. A beautifully written debut novel that fully deserves the 2015 Stella Prize.

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