Born of an adulterous affair in London, England, Marcel is ethnically ambiguous, growing up in the racially charged 1960s with a white surrogate father named Oliver. Abandoned as an infant, Marcel is haunted by vague memories of his bohemian mother, and is desperate to know who his real parents are.
When Oliver is promoted to foreign correspondent, he leaves Marcel in the care of his ill-equipped friends, including the beautiful Pippa. The world is being swept by a wave of liberation — coups, revolutions and the end of colonialism. While Oliver rushes toward the action, Marcel is set adrift in swinging London, a city of magic — and a city where he can never quite fit in. Just when it seems they will never be reunited, Marcel is sent to join Oliver in Vietnam. But by the summer of 1963, the war is escalating, and Oliver is finally overwhelmed by his doomed love for Pippa. When Marcel eventually uncovers the shattering truth about his mother, his entire world is rearranged.
Now, as his fiftieth birthday approaches, Marcel is asked to take care of his friend’s eleven-year-old daughter, Iris. Prodded by her sharp-eyed company, he reflects on his own bittersweet childhood and the experiences that have shaped his present. Stray Love is a playful and profound novel of betrayal, resurrection, and the reluctant yielding of old ways to a new internationalism. Stray Love is beautifully illustrated with original drawings by noted Toronto artist/filmmaker Heather Frise.
Canada: HarperCollins Canada (Phyllis Bruce Books), 2012
Australia/New Zealand: Picador Pan Macmillan. 2012
Kyo Maclear’s new novel is published as A Thousand Tiny Truths in Australia/New Zealand and appears in Canada as Stray Love.