Trespass by Rose Tremain
Published by: W. W. Norton & Company
Published on: October 2010
Page Count: 253
Genre: Gothic Fiction
My Reading Format: Audiobook purchased using a gift card
Audiobook Published by: AudioGo
Narrator: Juliet Stevenson
Audiobook Length: 9 hours 51 minutes
Available Formats: Hardcover, eBook and Audiobook ~ paperback version due in October 2011
Two sets of aging brother and sisters, one British and one French, are at a turning point in their lives. Both sets of adult children have been broken in some way by their parents. For Audrun and Aramon, the untimely death of their mother brought out the worst in their father. It is hard to tell who suffered more, the manse he led to near ruin or his children. Aramon inherited the manse when his father died. He no longer can keep it up and, given the outrageous amount people were now willing to pay to live in manse in the Cevennes region of France, he wants to make his own fortune. Audrun inherited some land adjacent to the manse and lives in a tiny cottage within site of the manse. It’s keeping buyers away and Aramon is determined to find some way to get rid of her cottage so that he can sell. For Veronica and Anthony, it was their mother who cut them so deeply. When his once premier antiques shop is no longer viable, Anthony is terrified. He has no identity without his reputation and he feels as though the entire world is sending him out to pasture. In a desperate grasp at some sort of relevance, he decides to close his store and find a place to retire in France. He calls on his older sister Kitty more for refuge than anything else. Veronica moved to France near Cevennes where she lives with her lover, Kitty. She is content to be removed from her childhood, but she never stopped feeling responsible for her younger brother’s happiness. Despite the anomosity between Anthony and Kitty, Veronica encourages her brother in his pursuits, letting him live with her indefinitely. In this dark novel, no one avoids being scathed by the inevitable clash.
Trespass is an example of why I love Gothic fiction. There is a mysterious darkness is present from the first words. The characters were conceived within it. The antique shop, the manse, Kitty’s bungalow and Aundrun’s cottage seeped it up through the soil and through this history of everyone who had ever entered. The siblings are intriguing, but the dwelling places they inhabit are even more so. Despite all of the human drama surrounding them, they are stoic in the knowledge that they will long outlast the current tenants. They define their inhabitants and show what they know to the world.
Trespass is one of my all time favorite audiobooks. The combination of story and narrator was so perfect it almost made me cry. It’s the type of listening experience that affirms one’s love of audiobooks. Juliet Stevenson simply dazzled me. Each of the characters were voiced perfectly, but it was her Aramon that I will carry with me. The first time he became upset, I was mesmerized. With this narration, she did for me what Simon Vance did for me with the Stieg Larrson series. Were she and Simon Vance to narrate a novel together it would be nirvana. Juliet Stevenson is one of the great audiobook narrators. I would challenge anyone who doubts the power of audiobooks to pick up a copy of Trespass. I have no doubt that conversions will take place.
Rose Tremain and Juliet Stevenson are two of the brightest literary gems I’ve discovered this year.