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The Strays: A Novel Hardcover – January 3, 2017
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"Remarkable...Bitto's scenes of the Trentham commune are vividly written, almost painterly."―New York Times Book Review
"Emily Bitto writes so well about art, childhood, infatuation, loneliness--you name it. THE STRAYS is a knowing novel, and beautifully done."―Meg Wolitzer, New York Times bestselling author of The Interestings
"Showcases a dazzling, gabby and ultimately doomed collection of stray human beings...THE STRAYS invites readers into a world that is by turns disturbing and magical....Word pictures which elevate the ordinary to exquisite appear throughout Bitto's novel..With precise and graceful turns of phrase, Bitto reveals the bond of passion between the two girls, which seems unbreakable but inevitably snaps under all that can't be said. And she delivers all of this with a grace and eloquence."―NPR Books
"Full of lush, mesmerizing detail and keen insight into the easy intimacy between young girls which disappears with adulthood."―The New Yorker
"Riveting, captivating, with a sense of foreboding threaded throughout. THE STRAYS is such a daring look at art and love and family that you'll want to clear your calendar: you'll be reading it in a day."―Whitney Otto, New York Times bestselling author of How to Make an American Quilt and Eight Girls Taking Pictures
"Reading this novel, I realized that this is the kind of book I love best: the young girl narrating a story she feels she cannot understand. Because of the precision of the prose, however, the reader perfectly understands the folly of the adult world and the perilous life the children must somehow try to survive. Thank you to Emily Bitto!"―Jane Hamilton, New York Times bestselling author of The Excellent Lombards
"Emily Bitto's THE STRAYS is a powerful and precisely imagined journey into the lives of two girls growing up in the avant-garde artistic milieu of post-war Australia. Like Elena Ferrante in her Neapolitan novels, Bitto entices and enthralls, probing the pathos of the heart and the unpredictable volatility of friendships and family. But above all, it is the writing itself that delights the reader: vivid, tactile, perfectly wrought, this is prose that weaves a lasting spell."―Paul Kane, award-winning author of Welcome Light
"Reminiscent of Ian McEwan's Atonement, Sybille Bedford's Jigsaw, or A.S. Byatt's The Children's Book...THE STRAYS is like a gemstone: polished and multifaceted, reflecting illuminations back to the reader and holding rich colour in its depths."―Stella Prize Judges' Report
"[A] sparkling debut."―The National Book Review, "5 Hot Books"
"A haunting evocation of life-changing friendship...THE STRAYS is a marvel of setting and characterization, re-creating a time of artistic revolution and personal revelation. Memorable and moving, this is a novel not to be missed."―Booklist (starred review)
"Told in both the breathless voice of an easily infatuated child and the more measured tones of a wiser adult, THE STRAYS is a powerful tale of the consequences of creativity."―BookPage
"You could lift out any sentence in THE STRAYS and admire the sheer artistry of its melody and composition. What's especially wonderful about Bitto's literary novel is the story never feels weighed down by style. It's an immensely pleasurable read."―Bookseller + Publisher 4.5 stars
"Explores with quiet passion both the cost of creative life on family and the definition of family itself."―Kirkus Reviews
"Its themes and characters provide universal resonance... THE STRAYS is a thoughtful exploration of what happens when artistic genius and family life collide, and how a relatively short period in one's youth can shape personal and professional choices for a lifetime."―BookReporter
"THE STRAYS is a marvellously accomplished and assured debut, announcing a major new talent. Rich in atmosphere and beautifully observed."―Booktopia
About the Author
Emily Bitto has a Masters in Literary Studies and a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Melbourne. She lives in Melbourne, Australia, where she also co-owns the Carlton wine bar, Heartattack and Vine.
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Top customer reviews
Bitto's characters are vivid and engaging. The prose is, at times, almost profound (there are passages that you will want to hilight) but at the same time, this novel manages to maintain a steady pace. It felt as though I was being led through the tangled garden of Lily and Eva's childhood with every page. Many of the questions raised by Bitto remain unanswered at the end, but it leaves so much room for thought and conversation. Don't hesitate - this novel is a "must read".