Everything you need to understand or teach The Strays by Emily Bitto.
Emily Bitto’s debut literary novel, The Strays, follows the lives of the Trentham family and their clan of artists in 1930s Melbourne, Australia. Lily, the first-person narrator, is the only-child of parents who struggle to survive during the Depression, but after befriending Eva Trentham in her third-grade class, Lily becomes an honorary member of the glamorous, artistic, and boisterous Trentham family. Lily retrospectively tells the story of her time with the Trenthams, spanning from the utopian ideal their artist community achieved, to the eventual demise of both the community and their family. Throughout the course of the novel, the author looks closely at intimate female relationships, the pliable concept of family, life’s impermanence, and arts inscrutable salvation.