Trespass by Rose Tremain, narrated by Juliet Stevenson
Published in audio by AudioGo, published in print by W. W. Norton & Co
We know the ways that our pasts, flaws, and foibles change the courses of our own lives, but perhaps we think little about the ways in which they can influence, and even devastate the lives of others, even when our paths cross only tangentially. Such is the case when two pairs of siblings, both with painful and damaging pasts happen to have their lives intersect in the south of France. Veronica and her lover, Kitty, have been living in Cévennes for years, but their simple domestic life of painting and gardening is disrupted when Veronica’s brother Anthony, who is having financial troubles in England, comes down to stay. When he decides he would like to relocate to France, tensions get even higher. Equally fraught is the relationship between Audrun and Aramon, natives of France. Their childhood was, shall we say, less than ideal after the death of their mother, and their interactions grow even more tense after Aramon declares his intention to sell their family home. With Anthony looking to buy and Aramon to sell, it is only to be expected that their paths should cross, but the results of that crossing are decidedly atypical.
Thoughts on the story:
Although not exactly a mystery, Tremain tells a suspenseful yet character-driven story in “Trespass.” We know from the opening scene that something terrible has happened, although what exactly that is will only slowly become apparent over the course of the book. It is a complex tale, but not overly so. The pacing, plotting, and prose were all extremely well handled, but the real highlight of the book was the character development. Not a single one of the characters in “Trespass” was a particularly likable human being. They were selfish, self-involved, rude, snobby, and occasionally abusive. In such a psychological, character-driven novel such as this, that can be quite a problem. However, they were so realistically and tragically flawed, that their petty incivilities failed to be a turn-off. Instead, the reader is drawn into their story to find out exactly what bad thing happened, and why.
Thoughts on the audio production:
At the beginning of “Trespass,” I had a bit of a hard time keeping all of the characters straight in audio, because Tremain included a number of relatively short scenes with each of them. I must say, I really wasn’t sure what was going on – actually, I’m not sure I would have been with print, either – but it didn’t matter one bit, because of Juliet Stevenson’s amazing narration. For more, see my review for Audiofile Magazine.
Fascinating and suspenseful, “Trespass” is a masterful psychological novel, although not one for those easily offended by sex and dysfunction.
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Source: AudioFile Magazine.
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