The Story

Stray Love by Kyo MaclearBorn 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.