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151 of 164 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark tale of outsiders and the land set in Southern France
A tale of siblings, territory and revenge set in the South of France, this is a dark tale and the reader is kept in suspense about the nature of the tragic events until late in the book. It's also about people's relationship to the land and outsiders trespassing on this and on each other's lives.

Set in the hills of Southern France, Trespass is a novel about...
Published on 28 Feb 2010 by Ripple

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too many horrors
I have been so disappointed with this, her 11th Novel. I can't help feeling that RT intended this book to be so much more than this when she sketched out her characters. Characters that could have been so well portrayed had their lives and pasts sidelined quickly for the rather boring subject of the search for Anthony,a very ugly,seedy character. This was then followed...
Published on 5 Oct 2011 by Hazel


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too many horrors, 5 Oct 2011
This review is from: Trespass (Paperback)
I have been so disappointed with this, her 11th Novel. I can't help feeling that RT intended this book to be so much more than this when she sketched out her characters. Characters that could have been so well portrayed had their lives and pasts sidelined quickly for the rather boring subject of the search for Anthony,a very ugly,seedy character. This was then followed by the murder, which was too far fetched and unlikely.

I am sure that RT initially intended to portray something worthy. Maybe the nature of relationships between siblings, their experiences in childhood and how this shaped and affected their future but this was sadly lost in grisly murder and incest. Frankly I didn't care for the story line at all and certainly only finished the book as it was for our Book Club. I'll be interested to hear what the group have to say about it.
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151 of 164 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark tale of outsiders and the land set in Southern France, 28 Feb 2010
This review is from: Trespass (Hardcover)
A tale of siblings, territory and revenge set in the South of France, this is a dark tale and the reader is kept in suspense about the nature of the tragic events until late in the book. It's also about people's relationship to the land and outsiders trespassing on this and on each other's lives.

Set in the hills of Southern France, Trespass is a novel about sibling love and rivalry, disputed territory and ultimately revenge. In the French corner are Aramon Lunel, resident of the Mas Lunel, and his sister Audrun who lives in a cottage in the grounds. In the English corner are Veronica Verey, a garden designer, and her partner, an untalented watercolourist, Kitty. The catalyst that brings these together is the arrival in France of Anthony Verey, Veronica's brother whose exclusive antiques business in London is failing and who decides to follow his sister in finding a new life in France. Aramon is tempted to sell his family Mas by the lure of `foreign' money even if that means that his sister's house has to be destroyed to secure the deal.

Multi-award winning Rose Tremain is a fascinating novelist because each of her books is very different. If anything ties them together it is the approach of from unexpected angles and a focus on unglamorous outsiders. Trespass is no exception - it's full of outsiders and they are always not easy to love. In fact, apart from the poor little school girl, Mélodie, who is left screaming at a gruesome discovery at the end of the first chapter (which we don't find out about for another 200 pages), it's difficult to feel much empathy of affection for any of the cast of characters.

Of course in real life, the obvious course for an antiques dealer in need of cash would be to turn up on day time TV selling tat in various auction rooms. Thankfully, Tremain takes Anthony Verey to the Cévennes hills. Tremain is not the first to set a book in the South of France, using the beauty of the land and the mysterious impact of the Mistral wind to bring disaster.

At times, some of her characters veer dangerously towards cliché. Why, for example, does Anthony need to have a penchant for young boys for example? It adds nothing to the story. His character is much more subtly portrayed by his amusing habit of appraising the history of every piece of furniture he encounters.

The story has a palpable sense of darkness about it. You know something bad is going to happen from the first chapter, but it's not clear what this is going to be or even to whom it will occur. Once it is clear what has happened, the culprit is not that much of a surprise but again, it's not clear if he or she will get away with it.

The book has important things to say about the clash of cultures and the whole importance of our relationship to the land. It's the English who are trespassing on French land, but also people who are trespassing on each other's lives.

I have to say that it's not my favourite of Tremain's books, but she's such an exciting writer that it's still a very good read. It's perhaps more unsettling and darker than her other books, and it keeps you guessing about the directions it's going to take. And I am still wondering about how poor Mélodie coped with her shocking discovery.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a wonderful book, 15 Jun 2011
This review is from: Trespass (Paperback)
'A life is a life,' says the protagonist towards the end of this book. You play the hand life deals you. Rose Tremain is one of the best English novelists writing today, and this is a wonderful book. She follows the lives of a French and an English family, neither of which is any great recommendation for family life, and brings them together with great accomplishment. I don't expect to read many better books than this one this year.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it, 1 Sep 2011
By 
D miles "Vicky40" (West Yorkshire, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Trespass (Paperback)
This is the first book by Rose Tremain that I have read and it won't be my last.
Unlike some other reviewers, I was hooked from the beginning and couldn't leave the book alone until I had read it all.
The story gently built up, until it was inevitable that something untoward would happen. I must admit that during the last quarter of the book, I had an idea of what the outcome might be, but the writing was so compelling that I had to read on. I'm glad I did.
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100 of 114 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Trespass, 4 Aug 2010
By 
TomCat (Cardiff, Wales.) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Trespass (Hardcover)
Another long review here. Sorry, this becoming a bad habit of mine...

'Trespass' is set in the Cévennes, southern France. The novel consists of two narrative threads which meet, cross, double-cross and become increasingly inter-twined as the story progresses. Firstly we meet Anthony Verey, a one-time famous, English antique dealer; he is sixty-four, miserable and addicted to rent boys. Anthony's antique business has been on the verge of collapse since the onset of the current economic recession, and the novel opens with him leaving his lavish Chelsea home and travelling to France, to live with his sister while he searches for his ideal country mansion in which to live out his retirement.

The second story-arc concerns Audrun and Aramon Lunel; French siblings, also in their sixties. Audrun was raped throughout her life by her father and brother, but emerged from the experience an independent and opinionated - if a tad clichéd - `survivor'. Aramon, by comparison, has suffered a dramatic fall-from-grace since youth, and is now a violent alcoholic. The siblings are engaged in a life-long bitter rivalry over land, inheritance and the sale of the giant family home, the Mas Lunel. No prizes will be given for guessing how the lives of Anthony and the Lunel siblings collide...

So far, so promising. The three central characters couldn't be more contrasting, each with their own selfishly demanding goals. Supplicating the conflict between these three protagonists are their back-stories - three turbulent narratives of past tragedies which, unfortunately, aren't given the focus they deserve. This is where Trespass' most obvious failing lies: the past histories of its characters make for much, much more interesting stories than the one the novel is actually telling.

Audrun's past is one of paternal abuse, rape, retribution and redemption. Anthony's past is scarred with doomed relationships, hidden homosexuality and a tragically un-reciprocated devotion to his mother; almost an Electra complex. These are the stories I want to read, these are the narratives that should have made up the novel; instead, they are given merely incidental reference. The story of an old man trying to buy a mansion from some feuding siblings is, by comparison, just dull.

There's an unintended bathos that destabilises this novel: the past is an unstable fault-line threatening to bring the superficial top-layer of this story to ruins - what happens beneath the narrative is vastly more engaging than the actual `plot'. While I praise Tremain for being daring enough to write a novel with an exclusively post-retirement age cast, it seems to me that the real drama of the book lies in the protagonists' histories. I understand what Rose Tremain is trying to accomplish - a hidden history that jeopardises the present day is a standard trope of story-telling; in this case, however, the history is too interesting and the present (the bulk of the novel), is just a muted aftermath. Anthony echoes my sentiments with this charmingly articulated mid-novel protest:

"You have to let go of the past, darling." She said.
"Why?" he replied, "I like it there."

Similar to the narrative, the writing is also a two-sided coin; one which, unfortunately, is weighted in favour of the competent rather than the excellent. Most of the writing is merely adequate; it's not stylised, but it gets the job done. There are, however, moments of expressive brilliance that tease us with what Tremain is capable of:

"The world is so dull, thought Anthony. So cripplingly tedious. So full of all that you've met a thousand times before and which has never moved you and never will. Yet still it goes on..."

I also admire the fact that Tremain doesn't directly describe the more graphic and violent events: sex, rape and murder all occur, but they are "off-screen", as it were; not part of the mise-en-scene of the narrative. With so many modern writers devoting so many words to detailed descriptions of rape and murder, it's refreshing to find a writer like Tremain; one who recognises that long-winded and visceral descriptions rarely contribute to momentum or plot, and more-often-than-not stray dangerously close to unintentional farce and cliché. But, as I have said, Trespass' high-points of stylistic excellence are few and far; separated by wide canyons of the mundane.

And so it is with every aspect of this novel. The characters have great back-stories, but uninspiring present-day ambitions. The writing has moments of beautiful expression, but is too often leaden with the uninteresting. Even the novel's final moments - a shocking and imaginative revelation - is marred by the fact that I saw-it-coming a hundred pages in advance. 'Trespass' is almost a very good novel, but it's also close to being a very bad one. Every success is counter-pointed by a failure and the result is something that's just middle-of-the-road. This `almost' factor left me in an unusual emotional state: I felt a kind of frustrated indifference, torn between accepting the novel as it is, and longing for what it could have been.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Trespass, 10 Oct 2014
By 
Keen Reader "lhendry4" (Auckland, New Zealand) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Trespass (Paperback)
In some parts of France, life goes on as it always has; and most of the residents hope that it always will. In one such area, in an isolated valley among the hills of the Cévennes is an isolated stone farmhouse, the Mas Lunel. Aramon Lunel lives there, and in a bungalow built on a part of the land of the original homestead lives his sister Audrun. Audrun’s life has been one of sacrifice – of her youth, her beauty, her chance at happiness; her ‘episodes’ causing her anguish and isolating her from what life could have offered, and her family causing her anguish and crushing her spirit.

In another part of the local area, Veronica Verey lives with her partner Kitty. Veronica’s brother Anthony is coming to stay until he finds what he would like to now do; the antiques business in London is not as profitable as it was, and he feels he could find a new lease of life in rural France.

Two cultures and ways of life clash here; the old ways of rural France are not reconciled to the influx of foreigners with their cash. What happens in this book is evidence of familial and cultural taboos being crossed, of peoples’ pasts rearing up to foreshadow their futures. The atmosphere of the rural French area is wonderfully evocative; you can imagine the fields, the river, the old stone buildings. The story which unfolds is surprising and slightly shocking; but it is, in all, a story of humanity and the fight that we all undertake to find our own path through life.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars SHE HAS DONE IT AGAIN, 4 Mar 2011
By 
Alexander Bryce (Scotland) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
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This review is from: Trespass (Paperback)
Rose Tremain is a master at the art of simply telling a good story . I am a fan [ see my other reports on her work ]and as such enjoy everything she writes . I admire greatly her ability to write completely new stories with new settings and new themes each time .
With Trespass the setting is rural France . Two sets of siblings ; one French one English ; both with unusual childhoods which have affected their adult lives . They come together over the contentious purchase of the French set's family home with disastrous consequences .
There is sex of various inclinations ; there is deception ; there is cruelty and murder .
The characters are all believable and fascinating in their own sad ways. The inter action between them makes for a fine tale which you won't put down until the final page .
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A totally gripping read, 5 Jan 2011
By 
Lucy Felthouse (Derbyshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Trespass (Paperback)
I picked up Trespass mainly, I'll be honest, because the cover caught my eye, and on reading the blurb I was sold. As a fan of France, I thought it'd be an interesting read. I wasn't wrong.

The book tells the tale of several characters, but their stories become more and more interwoven as time goes on. A beautiful old house is also a huge feature in the novel. The Mas Lunel is an old farmhouse, way out in the country in southern France. Aramon Lunel lives there in squalor, whilst his sister lives in a tiny bungalow on the land. There's certainly no love lost between these siblings because of their violent and disturbing past.

Things change for the siblings when Aramon decides to put the house up for sale. Audrun is horrified, knowing that rightfully that house is half hers but that if her brother sells it, she'll be left homeless and penniless. The potential buyer, Anthony Verey, is a man wanting to spend his last years in France. He visits the house and is almost decided upon buying it until he sees Audrun's house on the property - putting a real blip in the landscape, figuratively and literally.

However, this visit has already set wheels in motion which cannot easily be stopped and by the end of the book, several lives have been changed forever...

This was a brilliant read. At the beginning you would never guess what is going to come to pass. With every chapter, a little more information is given away, but it's done in such a way that you plough on through the book, desperate to know what happens next. The vital clues are drip-fed, but it's so skilfully done that it's unlikely you'll guess the ending - as I've done so many times in other books.

A really gripping read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A gentle and enjoyable journey to the end, 22 Nov 2010
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This review is from: Trespass (Hardcover)
This is the first novel I have read by Rose Tremain. I find her style gentle and comforting to read. It is not hugely active or terribly exciting, although it is very, very intriguing.

The first few chapters are slow, because of the three sub-plots the author tries to set up:
1. The unhappy child, Melodie on her class outing, who spots something nasty, causing her to scream;
2. Audrun and Aramon, a French brother and sister, who live in, and on, a big old family property. Aramon, lives in the big house, while his sister, Audrun, lives in a small bungalow on part of the land. Therein lies huge conflict, especially as Aramon wants to sell the house.
3. Anthony Verey, an unhappy and ageing London Antiques Dealer, wants to join his sister Veronica in France. But her partner Kitty is not happy with this idea.

One of these strands, does not come to light again till the end of the novel. And in retrospect, too much of it is made of, in the first chapter. If you can get beyond the first few chapters, the sub-plots become much more interesting. Tremain does lay down some hooks, and some intrigue, but it always seems predictable. It is important to remember that Trespass is not a who-done-it. It is a literary novel, which is about a journey into 'trespass' on many levels. What is actually driving these characters to do what they do, is the whole point... and it is always something in their past.

Tremain gives minimal detail of the background of these characters. But she tells enough to enable the reader to understand, rather than sympathise, or empathise. The style enables the reader to remain aloof instead of getting drawn into any past of any of the characters, all of which are treated with some equality by Tremain, and therefore, equal as well as in the mind of the reader, despite their action or behaviour.

Because of the snippets the author gives, there is a huge temptation by the reader to want to know the gory details of the past of these characters, and to get into how they feel about it at present. But, it is not a novel of how we feel about their past. Or, even how they feel about their own past. It is not psycho-therapy for them or for us. It demonstrates however, how the past can shape future behaviour. Behaviour, not feelings.

Trespass is a book written on many levels - land, property, siblings, the physical being, as well as mental trespassing. It is certainly a novel that will make you think beyond the last page.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dissapointing, 30 Mar 2010
This review is from: Trespass (Hardcover)
Rose Tremain is one of my favourite authors.Music and Silence,The Colour and The Road Home are magnificent books so I was looking forward to Trespass.Unfortunately I was left dissapointed. I found the characters totally unbelievable and cliched.I felt the book was quickly cobbled together,the ending predictable and nonsensical. How would a woman as old as Audrun manage what she did? What schoolteacher would allow a pupil to run off like that? The subsequent police investigation laughable. I know Tremain employs a magical realism in her work but this dosen't mix with the thriller genre that this book seemed to be aiming for.And the description of the the French Countryside made me feel that I would never want to live there. The only real part was the memories of the brother and sister although 'V' was not quite a believable child. I don't think any ten year old would be able to quote the full latin tag for a tree. And why did Anthony have to be homosexual as well as his sister? A rather naff approach there I'm afraid.
I award this three stars on the back of Tremains previous work but I do hope that any subsequent books will be a return to her usual 5 star standard.
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Trespass
Trespass by Rose Tremain
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