There are many kinds of trespass, Martin suggests, some psychological, some physical and all disturbing. Still, it's difficult to feel Chloe's pain, because it lets loose her prejudices. In creating a character who is probably not unlike many of her readers, Martin is trespassing too, leaving hints that suggest our own self-righteousness, however well intentioned, may not stand up when tested, as Chloe's won't. It's a disquieting thought, and it persists throughout the second half of the book, when Toby goes after Salome and Brendan goes after Toby. At this point, the spectral book-within-the book that has appeared in italicized snippetsthe anonymous story of an unhappily married Yugoslav woman who is unfaithful to her husbandbegins to make sense. Once it does, categories like good and bad seem entirely inadequate…The dialogue in Trespass can occasionally be stilted, the plot turns a little too convenientand the whole thing wraps up more neatly than the package warrants. Even so, Martin's novel is the best kind of moral fiction, the kind that interrogates morality itself.
The New York Times
The truth conveyed in Valerie Martin's novel Trespass is by now all too familiar: the horridness of pointless war, the terrible trauma it inflicts upon its victims, its awful persistence, so that in spite of all our anti-violence rhetoric, it breaks out periodically like cholera or the common cold. But Trespass is so remarkable in its choice of character, plot and place, so absolutely surprising in its outcome that it's wonderful not for its good intentions but for its extraordinary craft…This is a war novel that gives you a glimpse of what war might really meanthe high drama, the gasping excitementbeyond the same old bloodshed. Trespass revels in truth, whether power is listening or not.
The Washington Post
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 Heightsand 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.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Chloe Dale, commissioned to illustrate Wuthering Heights, lives contentedly in rural New York with husband Brendan, a history professor writing a book about the Crusades. Their life changes dramatically when son Toby introduces his girlfriend, Salome Drago, a brooding Croatian refugee with a disdain for the conventional. Chloe has misgivings about Salome, suspecting that she has trapped Toby into marriage when she becomes pregnant and the couple moves in. Chloe's nerves are further frayed from living under the same roof with someone who "has yet to bring so much as a dish to the table." Chloe is also disturbed by the presence of a menacing poacher who roams their property with a shotgun. Still another story is woven throughout in short, tantalizing passages. Jelena, Salome's mother, speaks about their family's tragic past, when their town was under attack by Serbs, and Orange Prize winner Martin (Property) describes the horrifying collapse of Yugoslavia in terms of such haunting human stories. Suddenly, the trespassers are no longer girlfriends and poachers but intruders from other countries and other cultures. A major novel; highly recommended for all public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ5/15/07.]
When Toby introduces his mother to a new college girlfriend, his mother is unsettled by the broodingly serious young woman who has beguiled her only child. Salome soon announces that she's pregnant, leaving Toby's mother, Chloe, heartbroken and seething with suspicion about their marriage of necessity. His mother's animosity toward his beautiful new wife alienates Toby, while his father attempts to mediate as peacemaker. Chloe is also disconcerted by a poacher hunting rabbits on their property. After Salome's mother, long thought dead in war-torn Yugoslavia, is discovered alive in Trieste, Italy, Salome mysteriously disappears. This story of an affluent family in rural New York is more than its plot elements, crackling with suspense and edginess from the first page. Martin, winner of the Orange Prize for her novel Property, envelops the listener in the same disquieting atmosphere of trespass and violation that obsesses Chloe. Audie Award nominee Bernadette Dunne never takes sides, forcing the listener to assess each character's veracity. Highly recommended for all fiction collections.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
What seems at first a tightly focused domestic drama about a middle-aged couple's reaction to their son's new girlfriend broadens onto a large socio-political canvas as liberal values run smack into fear of foreign invasiveness. Chloe, an illustrator working on an edition of Wuthering Heights, and her history professor husband, Brendan, researching a book about the Crusades, live in a comfortably rural setting outside Manhattan. The two are typically self-satisfied, self-aware members of the left-leaning bourgeoisie. Chloe in particular prides herself on her open-mindedness, but she is immediately put off when only son Toby, a junior at NYU, introduces his exotic new girlfriend Salome, with whom he is clearly besotted. Salome, a scholarship student who immigrated to Louisiana with her father and brother after her mother and other brother were killed in Croatia, strikes Chloe as judgmental and possibly predatory. More sanguine, Brendan recognizes with nostalgia the sexual frisson between Salome and Toby. Chloe's unease rises when Toby and Salome start living together. Salome becomes pregnant; she and Toby decide to marry; and all Chloe's alarms go off. At the same time, she feels increasingly threatened by a foreign trespasser who has been shooting rabbits on her land and may or may not have committed several other invasive, violent acts. With Iraq an ever-present backdrop, Martin builds a discomforting sense of menace: Is Chloe paranoid or is the threat real? Even Toby fights his doubts about Salome, especially when she disappears the day after their marriage. She's gone to Trieste to find her mother, who is not dead after all-she tells her story in italicized fragments throughout thenovel. Toby soon follows Salome. After Chloe sends Brendan to intervene, her worst fears are realized, however inadvertently, at home and abroad. A brilliant must-read from Martin (The Unfinished Novel and Other Stories, 2006, etc.), who captures the zeitgeist of contemporary America within a deeply personal context.
“Brilliant and seductive.” —People (four stars)“Martin is an expert at combining simmering menace with a cool, merciless irony.” —Salon“Arresting. . . . Trespass is a literary treasure hiding in plain sight.”—Chicago Tribune “A wickedly diverting novel about the storm-driven erosion of Fortress America.”—Los Angeles Times “Mesmerizing. . . . a war novel that gives you a glimpse of what war might really mean. . . . Trespass revels in truth.” —The Washington Post Book World