The Strays

The Strays

A Novel

Book - 2017
Average Rating:
5
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Winner of Australia's 2015 Stella Prize

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 1930s 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. The further the girls are pulled in, the greater the consequences.
 
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.
Publisher: [Toronto, Ontario] : Hamish Hamilton, 2017.
Copyright Date: ©2014
ISBN: 9780670070084
Branch Call Number: FIC Bitto
Characteristics: 290 pages ; 22 cm

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j
jerksister1
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!

u
uncommonreader
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.

e
EmilyEm
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.

j
jr3083
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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