A Quill and Quire Favorite of 2012.
A NOW Magazine Top Ten Book of 2012.
A National Post Canadian Favorite of 2012.
A Coast Top Books of 2012.
An Amazon.ca top 20 books of the year (so far) for 2012.
A CBC Books Summer Reading Selection 2012.
“The title of Toronto writer Kyo Maclear’s second novel provides many clues as to what’s between the covers: over the course of the story, love strays, lovers stray, and strays are loved. These are just a few facets of this beautiful, sensitive, multi-layered novel… Maclear has created an emotionally challenging examination of family, race, and, above all, love. I was so moved while reading Stray Love, I went right back and read it again.”
“[A] touchingly beautiful second novel…Kyo Maclear is a strong and natural writer. Her descriptions are poetic but practical. We know exactly what she means when she says it…Maclear’s structure is perfect. She loops memory, story, present and past, having them come together quickly and wonderfully at the end.”
“Ambitious, sensitive and graceful, Stray Love is a book that stays quietly with you long after the book is closed.”
“[I]t is Maclear’s risk-taking, her willingness to write characters so close to her own experience and to put them through so very much that makes Stray Love an important novel. It also firmly establishes Maclear in the echelon of home-and-abroad writers such as Madeleine Thien and Karen Connelly.”
“An absorbing novel about the redemptive power of love, with a hidden twist.”
“Anyone who has ever felt like an outsider will connect with Marcel, a mixed-race child who knows nothing of his biological parents and is being raised by a harried foreign correspondent. In Stray Love, Kyo Maclear offers a haunting and beautiful portrait of what it’s like to be confused about one’s place in the world and desperate for a sense of belonging.”
“Parental abandonment and its emotional aftermath, a budding artist’s sensibilities, race-based bullying, the ravages of war: they’re all on the agenda in this gem of a novel.”
“The novel has an effortless grace, clean and sparse, that allows Maclear’s grander themes — of failing to fit in and an evolving search for identity — to shine through.”
“An intriguing book that got under my skin.”
“Each year I find a very small number of spectacular works of fiction that, for whatever reasons, seem to fly under the radar. I think Stray Love is such a book.”
“It is a book where the knowledge of children is often more than the capacity of adults…And so, too, the reader sits with this full range and comes away changed.”
“A quirky meditation on betrayal and acceptance of life’s shortcomings and the infinite wisdom of children.”
“This book delights…Above all, Maclear captures atmosphere: small details are beautifull and eruditely observed and the broad world picture of the 1950s and 60s in the death throes on colonialism is skillfully captured. This book is even more rewarding on a second reading.”
—Good Reading Magazine (highly recommended)
“An inspirationally beautiful tale of an orphan child battling to make sense of adult betrayal, Maclear’s novel enriches where it could so easily depict only despair.”
“Canadian novelist Kyo Maclear tackles familiar themes with great originality and a frequently impressive wit via a narrator whose personal reflections in turn reflect the tumult of various times.”
—Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin
“Kyo Maclear’s novel, slipping artfully between the past and present, focuses on the ‘ball bearings of sadness’ which have long unsettled the soul of one Marcel…A most satisfying read.”
—Sunday Canberra Times
“This tale is richly embroidered with nuanced detail as it weaves its way back and forth through time, Maclear’s deep affection for her characters holding a true course. This is a skilled and exquisite rendering of the quest for identity and one’s place in the world. I loved every minute of it.”
“Stray Love is an elegant and compelling elegy on loss and longing. Maclear has created a story so believable that it feels like documentary. A triumph.”
— Helen Humphreys
“Stray Love is a vibrant and deeply moving book about a boy of uncertain origins who seeks belonging in a world of harsh divides and stifling conventions….Kyo Maclear is a writer of enormous talent and compassion — one to trust wholeheartedly in revealing the funny, the beautiful, and the unadorned truth.”
— David Chariandy