Trespass - Book of the Month
by Rose Tremain
This is the scene: A teacher picnics with her students in the isolated French countryside, crickets chirrup, the mistral blows through the trees and a sense of disquiet fills the stifling air. Then a child screams…
In an unapologetic homage to Claude Chabrol’s 1970 film Le Boucher, so begins Rose Tremain’s latest stunning novel.
The setting is the remote Cévennes, a mountainous region of south-central France. Once famous for its silk making, its economy now relies on tourism and many of the farms and smallholdings are being sold off to other, wealthier, Europeans, such as Veronica and her partner Kitty. Life is good for these two with their landscape gardening, painting and cooking to occupy them. That is until the arrival of Anthony Verey, Veronica’s middle-aged, world-weary, antiques dealer brother. A complex sibling relationship interferes with the women’s peace and Verey, clearly unwelcome by Kitty, decides to find his own idyll.
That takes him into the world of Aramon and Audrun Lunel, a brother and sister living a desperately unhappy, destructive existence. Aramon, a violent alcoholic, occupies what was once the family home – the Mas Lunel, while Audrun lives in a bungalow on the grounds. Every day she has to watch while Aramon runs the place, and himself, to the ground, all the while envisaging how she can exact revenge for past betrayals. When Aramon decides to sell the Mas to Verey it’s more than she can bear.
TRESPASS is a brilliant novel that takes us to very dark places. Tremain’s writing, as ever, is vibrant and clear, drawing us in immediately to the Cévennes landscape. This is a compelling, beautifully crafted thriller, filled with tension and menace but also filled with overwhelming sadness as the author examines complex sibling relationships and the crucial relationship between people and their environment.
TRESPASS is published by Vintage
Read our interview with Rose Tremain.