Trespass revolves around two brother/sister pairs. Anthony Verey is an English antiques dealer whose business is failing. To escape the stress he decides to visit his sister Veronica and her partner Kitty at their home in France. The beautiful country setting inspires him to give up his business and relocate to a dream house in France. He begins searching for the perfect house, and finds one in Aramon Lunel’s mas (farmstead). Aramon inherited the property from his father, but has allowed it to fall into disrepair. His sister Audrun lives in her own bungalow on adjacent land, and is less than pleased with Aramon’s desire to become rich by selling the mas.
But Anthony’s interest in the mas is only the most obvious trespass. Tremain weaves a complex web of trespasses from parental abandonment to lovers’ quarrels to incest to violent crime, with disastrous cumulative effects. The violent crime introduces a bit of mystery to the novel, but one that is pretty easy to figure out. At first this annoyed me, but then I realized “whodunit” was not the point. Rather, Tremain shows how childhood experiences shape the adult, and how trespasses — even minor ones — build over a lifetime, potentially into a pretty volatile brew.
This is a dark story, and with all that trespassing going on the characters are not particularly endearing. But it makes for thought-provoking, worthwhile reading.