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Trespassby Valerie Martin
Synopses & Reviews
Chloe Dale's life is in good order. Her only child, Toby, has started his junior year at New York University; her husband, an academic on sabbatical, is working at home on his book about the Crusades; and Chloe is busy creating illustrations for a special edition of Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights. Yet Chloe is disturbed — by the aggression of her government's foreign policy, by the poacher who roams the land behind her studio punctuating her solitude with rifle fire, and finally, by Toby's new girlfriend, a Croatian refugee named Salome Drago.
Raised in the Croatian expatriate community of New Orleans, Salome is a toxic mix of the old world and the new: intelligent, superstitious, sly, seductive, and confident. But Salome's past is a mine of dangerous secrets, and the violence that destroyed her homeland is far from over. Chloe distrusts her on sight, and as Toby's obsession with Salome grows, Chloe's mistrust deepens, alienating her from her tolerant husband and besotted son. Rich with menace, the novel unfolds in a world where darkness intrudes into bright and pleasant places, a world with betrayal at its heart. In shimmering prose Valerie Martin raises the question: who shall inherit America?
"'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.)' Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[A] searing commentary on the human desire to set boundary lines against threats, perceived and real....Nothing in Trespass is quite as it seems, and that is precisely the point." San Francisco Chronicle
"Martin is an uncompromising, serious writer, concerned with both the eternal verities and what matters right now....[Trespass] is the best kind of moral fiction, the kind that interrogates morality itself." New York Times Book Review
"This is a novel you read with sharp attention, both to the important questions it asks and to the complicated answers it offers." Entertainment Weekly
"Martin is a coolly dispassionate storyteller with a narrative voice that is at once inviting and disquieting." Booklist
"A major novel; highly recommended." Library Journal
About the Author
Valerie Martin is the author of three collections of short fiction, most recently The Unfinished Novel and Other Stories, and seven novels, including Italian Fever; The Great Divorce; Mary Reilly, the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde story told from the viewpoint of a housemaid, which was filmed with Julia Roberts and John Malkovich; and the 2003 Orange Prize-winning Property. She is also the author of a nonfiction work about St. Francis of Assisi: Salvation: Scenes from the Life of St. Francis.
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