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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. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.See all Editorial Reviews
Well written, very much in the American genre, like Jonathon Franzen and Jeffery Eugenides. A good story line about relationships , in particular mother/ daughter in law.Published on December 25, 2012 by Susan Mabin
This book is a waste of time because of the large amount of fluff that fills out the paragraphs. Martin cannot decide what this book is about and kills off a main character for... Read morePublished on November 27, 2011 by MARTYWME
Valerie Martin is a wonderful writer, and "Trespass" is a book that is well worth the read, if only to slide through her expert language use. Read morePublished on August 18, 2009 by J. Dougherty McGee
After having bought the book based on good reviews rather than reading a paragraph or two, I knew I was in trouble when the first paragraph was one long, confusing sentence. Read morePublished on December 23, 2008 by PatCali500
I never give 5 stars, but I think this book is worth it. Great characters, a variety of locales, literary references that were on the verge of overdrawn but good in the end, and... Read morePublished on November 24, 2008 by Daniel Holland
This is an interesting book with an interesting plot and characters. I liked Valerie Martin's writing style and her attention to details in creating the characters and their... Read morePublished on June 20, 2008 by Deepa Paranjpe
This is more a reaction to the publisher's description, the blurb on the back of the recording I listened to, and the reviewer above who says only poor Chloe fails to assimilate. Read morePublished on March 24, 2008 by Adeba
This book, about a middle aged couple and their son, starts out with promise but falls apart before it ends. Read morePublished on March 24, 2008 by J. L. Rubenking
288 pages of rambling, and yet I never cared about any of the characters. I skipped pages. This should have been a short story written in 100 pages. Very disappointing. Read morePublished on March 6, 2008 by T. L. Preble