From Publishers Weekly
This thought-provoking novel by Orange Prize–winning Martin (for Property
) opens deceptively, as the quiet story of a mother slowly adjusting to her 21-year-old son becoming an adult. In 2002, Chloe Dane is a loving mother and wife, an artist engrossed in illustrating a new edition of Wuthering Heights
and a protestor against the imminent invasion of Iraq. Her husband, Brendan, is a historian who doubts that his work has any value but is generally self-satisfied. When their only child, Toby, a junior at NYU, gets Salome Drago, his Croatian immigrant girlfriend, pregnant and hastily marries her, Chloe fears he was trapped by a calculating woman more interested in Toby's family's impressive house and property than in Toby. When Salome learns her mother, Jelena, whom she believed was killed by Serbs, is alive, she traces her to Trieste and abruptly departs to find her. Toby follows, and when the newlyweds decide to drop out of college and remain in Italy, Chloe sends Brendan to bring Toby home. A tragedy—one very convenient for the narrative—strikes while Brendan's in Italy, paving the way for a startlingly light resolution. Forgiveness doesn't come easy for the characters as they learn that nothing—not family, borders or survival—is inviolable. (Sept.)
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Critics hail Trespass
as a "stunning" work (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
), with the potential to introduce Valerie Martin (best known for her 2001 novel Mary Reilly
) to a wider audience. The novel combines the drama of family relationships with larger themes of xenophobia, war, and genocide; it also juxtaposes the comfort of the American middle class with the horrors suffered by victims of ethnic cleansing in other parts of the world. Although a couple of reviewers
found the plot forced at times, most praised Martin for her achievement. Brilliant writing, deftly-drawn characters, and a refusal to provide easy answers make this thought-provoking work a pleasure to read.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.