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The Strays

by Emily Bitto

Eight-year-old Lily is absorbed into the 1930s circle surrounding 'debauched' modernist painter Evan and his wealthy socialite wife. The tale of the next eight years is quite simply the best coming-of-age story I have read since Nancy Mitford's 'The Pursuit of Love'. Completely absorbing.

Extract

Eva and I glanced at each other, aware that both of us had been quietly consuming, engorging on the knowledge of these adult games ... a tiny trace of rot on the jasmine- scented air, aroused by these rumours of sex that wafted towards us on our chaste-couch-back; but I swatted them away.

Parallels

The Vivisector by Patrick White
Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
The Well by Catherine Chanter
 

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