By Rose Tremain
Completed October 11, 2010
When one reads the word “trespass,” it triggers the thought of someone illegally entering another’s land or property. While this definition of “trespass” is a minor theme in Rose Tremain’s newest book, readers learn that Trespass can be so much more than an errant footstep on a piece of land.
In this book, we meet two sets of siblings: Anthony and Veronica, British brother and sister who were very close, and Aramon and Audrun, French siblings who were not. Anthony’s career as an antiques expert was petering out, and he escaped to Veronica’s French home to collect his thoughts. Veronica’s home, which she shared with her lover Kitty, was near the mas of Aramon and Audrun. The pairs of siblings did not know each other until Anthony expressed an interest in purchasing the mas from Aramon. The potential sale was the turning point of the story, erupting into a tale of mystery, murder and unreconciled pasts.
Sigmund Freud might have had some fun with this story, as the effects of the mothers, Lal (Anthony and Veronica’s mom) and Bernadette (Aramon and Audrun’s mother) continued to influence their children’s lives, long after their deaths. The boys (Anthony and Aramon) individually loved their mothers strongly (some might argue inappropriately). Anthony was more concerned about pleasing Lal, which was often hard to do, while Aramon respected the beauty and domesticity of Bernadette. Their dysfunctional affection for their mothers affected them profoundly, with Aramon committing the worst sin by raping his sister, Audrun, repeatedly.
Trespass of the body, land, trust and love – indeed, it could be argued that many forms of “trespass” were at work in this novel. I caution readers who have not read Trespass that this novel doesn’t feel like a Rose Tremain book. It’s very dark, and the mystery aspect of the novel is atypical for her stories. If you can stomach the exploration of the darkest sides of people, then Trespass should be a satisfying read for you. ( )