Trespass by Rose Tremain


Yesterday the Northern Line was down from Morden to Stockwell which is really really annoying bearing in mind it seems the whole working world lives in South London and leaves at 8am to go northbound. This would seem like a bearable glitch if last week I hadn’t been stuck in the same place at least twice due to signal failure. One occasion I had to catch the last train interchanging at Elephant and Castle [jeepers isn’t that the oddest place in London] while a man vomited – 7 times! Pleasant eh? Sorry if you were eating lunch.

Therefore, instead I caught the crammed bus and watched a commuter throw a school girl off so that he could get on, when challenged by a fellow commuter he just said ‘Stay out of it! Mind your own business’ – oh it is times like these I wish I had She-ra Princess of Power gifts so I could throw said commuter off the bus but sadly not. So I tutted like any good British person would do. Nothing worse than a tut is there? It says disappointment and disapproval all in one. I also shook my head a little bit for effect.

Not all bad – I saw Les Miserables for the FIRST TIME [I can hear you tutting from here by the way?]. It was amazing but still won’t beat Phantom of the Opera for me. What can I say, The Webber man makes we want to dance around! It has made me quite cheery this theatre going lark, I keep wanting to break into show tunes at every step but as my school music teacher would have said ‘Lauren Baines – would you just get on with the task at hand?’.

This week we have new release Trespass by Rose Tremain. You might already be familiar with Tremain’s works, born in 1943 she was educated in the Sorbonne [cue dreamy sigh from Book Editor] and graduated from the University of East Anglia [cue not even remotely dreamy sigh from Book Editor] where she taught creative writing. She has written many a novel including ‘Restoration’ which was made into a film and was Sunday Express Book of the year. She has been listed for the Booker prize and the Orange prize for fiction in her time, has a CBE [re-cue dreamy sigh from Book Editor] and her latest book Trespass is launched this year.

Set deep in the Cevennes valley, Tremain tells a tale of sibling rivalry and revenge. Audrun and Aramon are the siblings living alone at Mas Lunel – the great stone house. Something dark and disturbing haunts their pasts which has shaped their lonely future and forced them into a destructive relationship. So when Aramon decides to try and sell Mas Lunel for vast amounts of money to foreigners [that’s us by the way!] and evict Audrun from her little badly built bungalow on the land, the trouble begins.

From Pimlico, London, Anthony Verey arrives in France and sets his eyes on the house. Verey is a famous antique dealer come to France to visit his sister. Washed up in the wake of the recession and and facing a huge fall from grace at home he hopes to find solace in Cevennes and reinvent himself there in the grand property of Mas Lunel. However he too despises the little bungalow on the land.

Veronica Verey is Anthony’s sister and their equally strange sibling relationship plays out in the book. Like Aramon and Audrun they are intensely close but for entirely different reasons. The bond, however, is far too close in the opinion of Kitty Meadows Veronica’s water colourist girlfriend. Kitty wants Anthony Verey gone from her and Veronica’s life and to be left alone but will she get what she wants?

Like pieces on a chessboard the characters dance around each other until only some can win or lose.

What was really wonderful about this book was the way it examines the sibling relationship. Although extremely subtle, the dynamic forces between each brother and sister partnership are exposed to their most sinister corners and the unbreakable ties they have created for themselves.

This book is a great way to kick start Spring, the descriptions of the valleys are a small aspect of the novel but all the same the rolling hills, the ancient silkworm production and arable land of Cevennes will capture your heart. This weaved together with the books thriller element will have you gripped.

Author: Rohini Wahi

Rohini is a London based freelance journalist and trend forecaster for the design industries. She has worked for Elle Decoration, Living Etc, Houzz and Design Sponge amongst others.

She loves a period drama and keeps a tidy home. Launched in 2007 The Beat That My Heart Skipped focuses on home inspirations, design trends, lifestyle and food – coupled with an insight into Rohini’s work and home life – from key picks at trade shows to styled weekend soirees. To contact Rohini for queries, work for hire or just to say hi drop her a line at

1 Comment on Trespass by Rose Tremain

  1. mlle paradis
    Thursday, March 4th, 2010 00:12 at 12:12 am (8 years ago)

    The Rose Tremain book sounds like a great vacation novel. And anything in the Cevennes……However, your “slice of London commuter life” was priceless. I lived in Chiswick for two years and will come off as a terrible snob, but if I am ever again in the position to choose, it will only be the District line for me! It’s not all always crumpets and tea, is it?

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