Strays
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Strays

Emily Bitto

On her first day of school, Lily Struthers meets Eva, one of the daughters of the infamous avant-garde artist Evan Trentham. He and his wife are attempting to escape the stifling conservatism of 1930s Australia by inviting other like-minded artists to live and work with them at their family home. As Lily’s friendship with Eva grows, she becomes infatuated with this artist colony, longing to truly belong to this makeshift family.


Looking back on those years later in life, Lily realises that this utopian circle involved the same themes as Evan Trentham’s art: Faustian bargains and terrible recompense; spectacular fortunes and falls from grace. Yet it was not Evan, nor the other artists he gathered around him, but his own daughters, who paid the debt that was owing.


The Strays is an engrossing story of ambition, sacrifice and compromised loyalties from an exciting new talent.

Emily Bitto’s debut novel has been inspired by aspects of the legacy of the renowned Heide group of artists and writers, which included controversial figures such as Sidney Nolan and John and Sunday Reed, whose private lives were as controversial as their creations.

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