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The strays av Emily Bitto
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The strays (urspr publ 2014; utgåvan 2014)

av Emily Bitto

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
2471584,660 (3.82)8
In The Strays, Evan Trentham is the wild child of the Melbourne art world of the 1930s. He and his captivating wife, Helena, attempt to carve out their own small niche, to escape the stifling conservatism they see around them, by gathering together other like-minded artists. They create a utopian circle within their family home, offering these young artists a place to live and work, and the mixed benefits of being associated with the infamous Evan. At the periphery of this circle is Lily Struthers, the best friend of Evan and Helena's daughter Eva. Lily is infatuated by the world she bears witness to, and longs to be part of this enthralling makeshift family. As Lily observes years later, looking back on events that she still carries painfully within her, the story of this groundbreaking 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.… (mer)
Medlem:jdskeggs
Titel:The strays
Författare:Emily Bitto
Info:South Melbourne, VIC : Affirm Press, 2014.
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
Betyg:
Taggar:Ingen/inga

Verkdetaljer

The Strays av Emily Bitto (2014)

  1. 00
    Gillespie and I av Jane Harris (doryfish)
    doryfish: An outsider is drawn to a bohemian family with tragic results.
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» Se även 8 omnämnanden

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When Lily receives an invitation to an art exhibition she is undecided whether she wants to attend. She hasn't heard from her old school friend, Eve, for decades and is unsure whether to rekindle the friendship. Her mind drifts back to their first meeting, and so the story begins.
Lily is an only child of conservative parents. Eve by comparison is the middle child of her bohemian artistic parents. When Lily is invited to stay on a Friday night, her parents are happy she has made a new friend. This soon becomes a weekly event and Lily is absorbed into the carefree lifestyle, where Lily and her two sisters are allowed and encouraged to look after themselves. Lily's father suffers a work accident and Lily moves in with the family foe an extended period.
The writer conveys how infatuated and impressed Lily is with the freedoms allowed and the changing dynamics in the Trentham family as other artists are invited to become part of the communal lifestyle. There is an underlying tension to suggest that all will not end well with four young women exposed to this socially unconventional way of living.
I loved this book, the lyrical writing and depiction of societal differences of the 1930's and the evolving art scene. ( )
  HelenBaker | Dec 31, 2020 |
3.5 stars ( )
  snakes6 | Aug 25, 2020 |
Beautifully poetic! I was completely immersed in this story, often finding myself daydreaming of the characters and the happenings within. I will definitely read it again sometime.

"There is no intimacy as great as that between young girls. Even between lovers, who cross boundaries we are accustomed to thinking of as at the furthest territories of closeness, there is a constant awareness of separateness, the wonder at the fact that the loved one is distant, whole, with a past and a mind housed behind the eyes we gaze into that exist, inviolate, without us." ( )
  polyreaderamy | Jun 11, 2018 |
This was a stunner of a novel. Bitto perfectly captured, through gorgeous language, the languid beauty of childhood, where wonder can be found around every corner. Her fuzzy use of narrative details at times felt frustrating, but also stayed incredibly true to the experience of a child recounting a story that she doesn't fully understand. This will absolutely be one of the best I read this year. ( )
  NeedMoreShelves | Mar 30, 2018 |
I've never been completely convinced Australia exists. I've met many Australians, I've know non-Australians who have been to Australia, I watched a lot of Heartbreak High when it aired on Showcase in the 90s. So, rationally, I know Australia exists, but if Australia were to suddenly be like "Psych!", I could totally see where that was coming from.

All this to say that The Strays is set in Australia. But it doesn't feel like Australia. It feels like the setting could be anywhere. Like rationally knowing Australia exists, I rationally know that books from Australia don't all need to feature kangaroos and Ned Kelly, but then I read a book set in Australia with nary one mention of a koala and I'm like "Hmmm...are we sure this is in Australia? Just because the book references Melbourne and Sydney and says a few times that they are in Australia, do I really believe this book is set in Australia?" So, again, if The Strays were to suddenly be like "Psych!", I could totally see where that was coming from.

(And, I mean, for goodness' sake, I'm Canadian, I read plenty of Can-Lit, and I hardly expect every book set in Canada that I read to feature igloos and polar bears and poutine. I feel I am somehow mentally deficient in all things Aussie. Do I need to eat more some (because I've never managed to put even a little near my mouth) Vegemite? Why can't my brain comprehend Australia? Australia, why are you so difficult?)

Framing this in a more positive light, The Strays transcends Australia and isn't regional literature. It's a compelling read of a colony of artists in the 1930s, but, unfortunately, has all the things I don't like about first novels: an outsider narrator (the reader is already the outsider; I don't need another removal for me to see through two steps removed) looking back (why not set it simply in that time frame, rather than use a flashback framing device) who views the rest of her life as somewhat inconsequential (so, again, why bother with the flashback and the little bits of her life after that? Just stay in the time frame if that was so important) with a somewhat deus ex-machina reason for getting the gang back together in the present time so that our narrator can reflect (seriously, just set it in the 1930s and be done with it) on the brilliant men surrounded by their supporting/adoring women (blehhhhhhhhh). I do not like these things. I think they weaken the novel. Luckily, the novel, especially the pretty writing, is strong enough (even with the lack of platypuses/platypii/platypodes) that the things I dislike serve as annoyances rather than deal-breakers, and, at times, the novel reads like a painting, with colour and slashes and visible brush strokes that I love. But still, I'm conflicted: did I need to read another flashback book about brilliant, abusive men who don't really get their comeuppance, no matter how lyrical the writing is and how well I could see how everything looks even though Australia is imaginary I have never been to Australia? I guess I did since I did.

Plus the font was large, and the margins wide, so I did read it quickly. Yay.

Obligatory picture of my favourite Australian book:



Yeah, it's completely unrelated, but Sometimes I Like To Curl Up In A Ball is a very cute book that I enjoy a lot.

The Strays by Emily Bitto went on sale January 3, 2017.

I received a copy free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  reluctantm | Dec 20, 2017 |
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In The Strays, Evan Trentham is the wild child of the Melbourne art world of the 1930s. He and his captivating wife, Helena, attempt to carve out their own small niche, to escape the stifling conservatism they see around them, by gathering together other like-minded artists. They create a utopian circle within their family home, offering these young artists a place to live and work, and the mixed benefits of being associated with the infamous Evan. At the periphery of this circle is Lily Struthers, the best friend of Evan and Helena's daughter Eva. Lily is infatuated by the world she bears witness to, and longs to be part of this enthralling makeshift family. As Lily observes years later, looking back on events that she still carries painfully within her, the story of this groundbreaking 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.

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