Trespass, by Rose Tremain, takes place in the quiet rural beauty of southern France as well as in a antique shop located in the dreary chill of London. Anthony, a middle-aged antiques dealer, longs for the past that included a multitude of younger lovers, better health and a promising financial situation. Since he can’t have the fortune he so richly believes he deserves, he sets out to purchase a property in the countryside of France where he plans to spend the rest of his days.
In France, Anthony encounters Aramon, the mean spirited owner of a unique and beautiful property and older brother to Audrun, a woman whose own life was stolen from her years ago through a vicious cycle of abuse. The painful and mysterious relationship between the siblings, Audrun and Aramon, is revealed slowly, allowing the reader to gain insight into the reasons for which they are linked and yet also estranged, sharing land and a lifetime of raw memories.
Still another character introduces the story of Aramon, Audrun and Anthony to the reader. A young girl, recently relocated to the countryside from the elegance and modernity of Paris, is unhappy. The purpose for her role in Trespass is not revealed until the end, when the story culminates in a good vs. evil type of ending.
The story moved rather slowly for me, though the language was dramatic and dark. The tone of the novel was disturbing for many reasons, and I did not at times know which character to root for as they were all troubled and not particularly humanizing. But in the end, my sympathies landed with Audrun as she took real steps to make her life better.
Tremain makes sure to let the reader know that the argument over land and the distinction between city versus rural life is not necessarily at the heart of this story, but that only by exploring real and painful relationships between family members can we move forward and away from the past.
Ms. Sara Padilla is a freelance writer and maintains a personal blog on family, health and wellness. She resides in the Pacific Northwest.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by W. W. Norton & Company. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.