Stationery & Cards
Gifts, Games & Toys
Computing & Electronics
Saving £5.00 (63%)
4 or more weeks
Click image to zoom
In a silent valley stands an isolated stone farmhouse, the Mas Lunel. Its owner is Aramon Lunel, an alcoholic so haunted by his violent past that he's become incapable of all meaningful action, letting his hunting dogs starve and his land go to ruin. Meanwhile, his sister, Audrun, alone in her modern bungalow within sight of the Mas Lunel, dreams of exacting retribution for the unspoken betrayals that have blighted her life. Into this closed Cevenol world comes Anthony Verey, a wealthy but disillusioned antiques dealer from London. Now in his sixties, Anthony hopes to remake his life in France, and he begins looking at properties in the region. From the moment he arrives at the Mas Lunel, a frightening and unstoppable series of consequences is set in motion. Two worlds and two cultures collide. Ancient boundaries are crossed, taboos are broken, a violent crime is committed. And all the time the Cevennes hills remain, as cruel and seductive as ever, unforgettably captured in this powerful and unsettling novel, which reveals yet another dimension to Rose Tremain's extraordinary imagination.
Anthony Verey is a successful antiques dealer in his sixties and has become deeply disillusioned with his shallow, glossy London life. His business, once right at the top of the antique market tree, is failing. He is conscious that his reputation and standing in his high society world is nosediving fast, and he simply cannot stand to lose the carefully-acquired burnish of success.
So, unmarried and with no children, gloomily aware that he is approaching old age, he decides to visit his older sister who lives in the Cevennes region of France. Veronica is a moderately successful landscape gardener there; her partner, Kitty, a mediocre painter with dreams of artistic glory.
Anthony decides to make a new start in France and falls in love with a beautiful old house which the owner has put up for sale. Here the story becomes very dark. For the owner - an alcoholic old farmer who has let his land go to rack and ruin - also has a sister; a proud and vengeful woman who is bitterly angry with her brother for wanting to sell their family's historic home to make money (which he refuses to share with her).
What follows is a compelling murder mystery set in this ancient and mysterious part of France. Its themes of sibling love and hate, family dysfunction, ageing, and bitter envy, make it compulsive reading. Trespass is beautifully written with a terrific story and a wonderful sense of place.
How would any of us react in a moment of mortal danger? In a plane crash? In the heat and smoke of the battlefield? Would we be heroes, or cowards?
This is a story about possession and how the need for it can corrupt and destroy. Anthony Verey's whole life has been about possessing things. When he talks about 'my beloveds' he is not referring to people but to antiques he values so highly that he cannot bear to sell them. One reason his business is collapsing.
So when Anthony sees a beautiful farmhouse deep in the south-west French countryside, he is overwhelmed by desire to own it. He cannot know he is stepping into a family minefield. His negotiations with the drunken owner, Aramon, are observed with implacable hostility by the farmer's sister, Audrun.
Audrun is a deep one, to be sure. One wonders if a lifetime spent in this lonely, isolated part of France has turned her mind; that and the horrendous abuse she suffered as a girl. When the mistral blows Audrun is taken with strange moods and fits: there's something of the witch about her.
Verey, his sister and her lover Kitty stick out like sore thumbs. Locals resent the arrival of the rich English with the purchasing power to possess the best properties: the local mayor says it has to stop. There is a hint of menace in the air. Meanwhile Kitty is consumed by jealousy of her lover's brother; she fears he will steal Veronica from her.
It is no surprise that murder should blossom like a dark flower out of all this suspicion, envy and hatred. The Cevennes forms the perfect backdrop to Rose Tremain's story: brooding, remote, and despite its beauty, inherently unwelcoming.
There is more than one kind of 'trespass' in the novel. After you had read the novel, what did you think the title referred to?
Trespass is beautifully written. What did you particularly like about the style and imagery in the novel?
Can you empathise with any of the characters in the book?
What did you think of the French setting of the novel? Did you feel that it added to the story?
Do you allow anyone to read your books before being published other than the publisher and is there a reason behind that?
I have two primary readers, my editor, Penelope Hoare and my partner, the biographer, Richard Holmes. Both are extremely astute critics and unafraid of speaking their minds because they know that I'm a committed (even obsessive)
re-writer and that we all have one aim: to make the book as good as it can possibly be before it's published.
What literary inspirations do you draw from?
I always find this question difficult to answer. I've been through phases of loving certain authors and then those phases pass. When I was fifteen (already knowing I wanted to be a writer) I adored the novels of Lawrence Durrell so much, I wanted to eat them! Now, I find them both dull and over-written. I also went through a Balzac phase and big William Golding phase. At the moment, I feel moved by two writers of the American wild: Cormac McCarthy and Annie Proulx.
What is the best book you have ever read and how did you come to that conclusion?
What I ask of a novel is that it knows what its true subject is and then offers up a nuanced and perfected exploration of that subject. A leading candidate for my 'best book' therefore, is Nadine Gordimer's The Conservationist, primarily because it understands itself so well. Every scene, every description, everything that happens serves the core theme - the dilemma of a white South African farmer during the apartheid years, torn between his love for his country as it is and his knowledge that change must come to it, if it's going to save its soul.
If you could work with any author who would it be?
I don't think I could work on a novel with any other author - even George Eliot! My books are born out of a passionate solitude. However, what novelists long for is to work with brilliant screen adaptors, so that they can see their work come alive in that highly seductive medium. At the moment, I've loving working with Martin Sherman, who's doing wonderful script-work on my 1999 novel, Music & Silence.
How do you manage to get inside the heads of all your different characters in order to portray them truthfully?
This has really never presented itself as a problem to me. The ability to understand what it feels like to be someone else is essential to the fiction writer's art.
Unless you can do it, I don't think you can succeed with this form.
Who is your favourite character from any book and why?
Because I'm about to write the sequel to my 1989 novel, Restoration, I've been re-reading Samuel Pepys's Diary - and falling in love with the man all over again. Okay, I know this isn't fiction, so this answer is flawed, but I can't think of any fictional character who emerges from the page with quite this vibrancy, except possibly Mr Toad in The Wind in the Willows.
How do you decide on the names of your characters?
Good question. Names feel very important to me and always have done.
Until the name of a character is the right one, I never get very far with his or her narrative. Some names are deliberately neutral; some carry a coded nudge to the reader and you need to know which of these is appropriate for the story you're telling. My advice to new writers would be: 'say names aloud. See if they embarrass you. Imagine talking about them - and to them - as real people. You'll know soon enough if the name can go the distance of the book.
Do you have any little quirks or funny habits when you are writing?
My quirkiest habit, in winter cold spells, is to work in bed. (I'm always relieved to remember that the biographer Michael Holroyd does this, too.) To write well, I need to 'forget' about my body, and if my body is cold I seem unable to forget about that. So I put on my electric blanket and work upstairs, watching the Norfolk darkness come down at my bedroom window.
How long did the book take you to write?
If you include research time (learning about silk production, Cevenol river management, Cevenol soil cultivation, the role of the Résistance in this part of France, the language used by collectors of fine antiques, ways of planning a garden in areas of low rainfall…etc etc) then it took me two years. If you exclude the research time (which you can't, really) then the first draft took me 9 months and the re-writing took another two to three months, making one year.
What writing plans do you have for next year?
See Question 6, above. Yes, I know sequels are risky, but this is a book I've been wanting to write for years. And the time feels right for it now. Restoration (written during the Thatcher era but set in 1664-67) captured past/present eras of conspicuous consumption and displays of selfish freedoms. The new book, A Man of His Time, will pick up on an ageing protagonist, Robert Merivel, who's experiencing financial agony and extreme confusion about his role in the world. These feelings are replicated at Court in the last two years of the reign of Charles II. All of this, I think, mirrors our current global predicament and will again speak to readers about the present as well as the past. Or that's the idea, anyway.
The Time of My Life
Saving £5.00 (63%)
The Land of Painted Caves (Earth's Children Bk. 6)
Jean M. Auel
Saving £17.49 (88%)
out of stock
Publication Date: 06/01/2011
ISBN 10: 0099478455
ISBN 13: 9780099478454
Love love loved it, a real page turner, couldn't put it down. This is what a good book is all about - to be lost in the story that transports you to another place!
I actually live just north of this area in the Cevennes of South Ardeche. I thought the first chapters started very well, good introductions of both area and characters. It then stalled slightly, but soon picked up momentum and held the reader right through to the end. The denouement was a little obvious, but nevertheless you felt anything MIGHT happen with these complex characters. I had to get there as quickly as possible. There were just a few details which jarred slightly, even though the Cevennes and Mistral were well documented. The chestnut leaves are never out as early as April (the last trees to leaf) and it is impossible to grow runner beans in such dry hot summers. Certainly Audrun would not have grown them, only les Britanniques.
I really enjoyed this read,so much that i read it over 2 nights and finished it at 6am,i just couldn't put it down,it kept me reading on and on, the suspense built and i just had to get to the end, and i wasnt disappointed.It definitely makes you think about your relationships and i am sure that i will read it again. I loved the languge used in the book,it was like not a single word was wasted, every word was needed.the descriptions made you feel you were there.i have read one other of the author's book, the colour, and that was a completely different read, i didnt read that so quickly.I will now read more of her novels as Trespass has stayed on my mind long after i have finished it and that is, for me,a sign of an excellant novel.
Rose Tremain's most recent book, The Road Home, won the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction in 2008. Her novels have been published in 27 countries and have won many prizes, including the Whitbread Novel of the Year Award and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize; Restoration was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and was made into a film (1995) and a stage play (2009). The Colour and Music & Silence, are currently in development as films, and the bestselling The Road Home is being adapted for television. Rose Tremain lives in Norfolk and London with the biographer, Richard Holmes.
You are leaving the WHSmith.co.uk site to visit one of our recommended partners.
The site you are going to will have its own separate shopping basket, checkout and customer services. The WHSmith.co.uk website will remain open in the background with any items saved in your basket for when you return.