01 December 2010

Trespass by Rose Tremain

Flap Copy from ARC: "In a silent valley in Southern France stands an isolated stone farmhouse, the Mas Lunel. Aramon, the owner, is so haunted by his violent past that he's become incapable of all meaningful action, letting his hunting dogs starve and his land go to ruin. Meanwhile, his sister Audrun, alone in her modern bungalow within sight of the Mas Lunel, dreams of exacting retribution for the unspoken betrayals that have blighted her life. Into this closed world comes Anthony Verey, a wealthy but disillusioned antiques dealer from London. When he sets his sights on the Mas, a frightening an unstoppable series of consequences is set in motion."

This book tells a dark tale of the trespasses we visit upon one another, as well as those we commit against the land we walk and the world in which we live. On the one hand are Aramon and Audrun, on the other Anthony Verey and his sister Veronica. The lives of these four intersect when Anthony travels to France to visit Veronica, and then sets his sights on buying the Mas Lunel. All of these characters are over sixty years old, and all are living as much in a more vibrant past as in their dismal present day.

Tremain's prose is haunting, her language lyrical and descriptive and at the same time somehow sparse. The darkness in her characters' hearts is palpable to the reader, as is their growing despair. I found the novel to be at times unrelentingly grim, however, and though I was engaged in the story, I was more than ready to finish and shelve the book. I give it 3 stars - for the quality of the writing and for the power of the haunting feelings I was left with long after I was finished reading.

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