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3.24 of 5 stars 3.24  ·  rating details  ·  536 ratings  ·  120 reviews
Two women, Chloe Dale, an artist comfortably ensconced in bucolic suburbia, and Salome Drago, a wily, seductive refugee from a country that no longer exists, confront each other in a Manhattan restaurant, and the battle lines are drawn. Toby Dale, son of the artist and ardent suitor of the refugee, is in no position to choose sides. Outside, the drumbeats for the impending ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published September 18th 2007 by Nan A. Talese (first published January 1st 2007)
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Dec 15, 2008 E rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: fiction
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I did not want this novel to end. Start to finish, the characters and their story were hard to put down. Simply put, people of our new, comfortable world become intimately involved with refugees from hell (which our country, in another context, imposes). Every character, and every conversation between them, is so real and revealing. Ms. Martin is simply a brilliant writer, as I have discovered in her other works. I am so glad that she is also fairly prolific, and writes books worth re-reading.
This novel had, in the abstract, very little plot, but was fully captivating--even almost a page-turner because I cared deeply what happened to the characters. In the plot, such as it was, a mother is troubled by her college-aged son's choice of a new girlfriend, while the father, a history professor who's struggling to find meaning in his work, tries to mediate. In a side story, the mother, an artist (specifically, a book illustrator who's working on illustrations for a new edition of Wuthering ...more
She's a good writer but I hated every single character, so I pretty much skimmed this one. Also, it contained entire chapters in &%$ing italics. Chapters! I'm not reading 13 pages of italics! I'm old, and I need to save my eyeballs.

If you want to tell a story from an another character's POV, and you want to make that clear, just call the chapter something like "Listen UP! Now It's That Croat Chick Talking!"
Cee Martinez
The first shot fired in this multi-layered novel about battlefields and victims, is over a basket of rolls in an expensive New York restaurant. Chloe Dale has met her beloved only son Toby's new girlfriend, and his girlfriend's first crime is being named Salome Drago, her second, being foreign. Despite identifying as a liberal, and despite her endless reserves of love and devotion Chloe has for her husband and son, the woman still cannot shake the itchy hand of upper class prejudice as she appra ...more
Bookmarks Magazine

Critics hail Trespass as a "stunning" work (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette), with the potential to introduce Valerie Martin (best known for her 2001 novel Mary Reilly) to a wider audience. The novel combines the drama of family relationships with larger themes of xenophobia, war, and genocide; it also juxtaposes the comfort of the American middle class with the horrors suffered by victims of ethnic cleansing in other parts of the world. Although a couple of reviewers found the plot forced at times, mos

This book was strange but very engaging. Just prior to Desert Storm, an American family gets caught up in the aftermath of Croatian survivors after the war with Serbs in Yugoslavia. The Croatian mother's story of her past is intermingled with the present as mother and daughter are reunited with unexpected consequences for the Americans. There is an underlying motif of WUTHERING HEIGHTS since the American mother Chloe is working on illustrations for a reprinting of the novel. With a different twi ...more
The opening scene of this novel deftly planted the hook and reeled me in. Chloe, a middle-aged book illustrator, is meeting the girlfriend of her college-student son, Toby, for the first time. In her son's favorite restaurant, she takes stock of this girlfriend, notes the young woman's dark good looks, her evident sexiness, her unwillingness to please or be pleased. When the waitress drops off menus, the girlfriend, the aptly named Salome, simply sits with her hands in her lap, refusing to put h ...more
This book sounded interesting but as I read it, it never really went anywhere. It's basically about a mother and a daughter-in-law that don't really like each other. But, they spend little time together. In fact, the characters often spend the book lost in their own thoughts about each other instead of actually interacting, so the dramatic tension is a little mushy. Also, the resolution is, not quite cliche, but kinda pedestrian and too easy.
Martine Bailey
This was an intriguing and infuriating novel of complex ideas about property, foreignness and war. I enjoyed the way my sympathies were played with, as we initially identify with Chloe, a middle-aged wealthy artist, mother to beloved son Toby, who horrifies his mother by marrying exotic but acquisitive Croatian refugee, Salome. Chloe is illustrating ‘Wuthering Heights’ and the parallels to ‘the ungrateful outsider’, Heathcliffe, seem particularly pertinent to her new daughter-in-law. The calm an ...more
I’ve read several novels by Valerie Martin and have enjoyed and admired them; I don’t think Trespass is quite as good as others I’ve read. The novel deals with Chloe, an illustrator whose affluent and peaceful life is threatened by dual causes: a poacher on the grounds of their home and the fact that her son Toby has become engaged to Salome, a Croatian refugee. The story includes multiple viewpoint characters and extends to Louisiana, where Salome’s father now lives, and ultimately to Trieste, ...more
Lisa Mettauer
Valerie Martin is a wonderful writer. Somehow she grabs you from the first sentence, makes you love her characters, and holds your interest to the very end. Each of her novels is different: Mary Reilly features the maid of Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde, Italian Fever is a ghost/mystery story; and Property involves a slave and her owner before the Civil War (she won the Orange Prize for this one, beating Zadie Smith and Donna Tartt). Yet Martin brilliantly mines the intimate relationships of her characters ...more
This story had promise, especially in the able storytelling hands of Valerie Martin. But the story of parents Chloe and Brendan, their son Toby and his Croatian girlfriend Salome, and of Salome's parents, didn't do it for me.

As another Goodreads viewer noted, it is is odd that "the trio of female characters are painted much more severely than the trio of male characters." In fact, none of the characters are all that engaging. None rang terribly true for me. Although I gave another of Martin's bo
Feb 20, 2008 asra rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: novels
Chloe’s son Toby is a junior at New York University. He seems to have met the love of his life in Salome Drago, a Croatian classmate. Eager to have his girlfriend and mother meet, they arrange for lunch and immediately Chloe can't stand Salome. She thinks Salome's peculiar and hostile. And despite Toby’s best efforts at refereeing the two, Chloe walks away with the suspicion that Salome's using Toby. As if her encounter with Salome weren't enough, she returns home only to be reminded of a poache ...more
Multi-layered story that raises many complex issues, including the question of 'foreignness,' and the fascination and fear that the 'outsider' can inspire. I esp enjoyed how this theme is drawn out with the art one of the characters is creating for an illustrated edition of "Wuthering Heights."

It starts off a bit slow (which didn't bother me), but very quickly becomes hard to put down. And while it may seem that the ending is all tied up in pretty bows for the characters (at times I wasn't sure
Eva Mitnick
Toby is the 21-year-old only son of Chloe, a book illustrator, and Brendan, a history professor. When Toby falls in love with, impregnates, and marries a brash, slightly untamed Croatian-American student named Salome, Chloe is horrified. She is certain Toby has been "trapped" by a woman she sees as unsavory and a threat. Meanwhile, Salome's past in war-torn Croatia suddenly rears up, creating havoc for her and Toby. Finally, Chloe is obsessed with a poacher (she's convinced he's "Middle-Eastern" ...more
Excellent story mixing the lives of an everyday family facing complex issues of love, loss, betrayal and the terror of the Serbia/Croatian war. The author wove the stories together beautifully. one character was working on illustrations for a "Wuthering Heights " addition which led me to want to read Bronte's classic.
Chloe is a middle-aged book illustrator who is living a comfortable life with her historian husband who is on sabbatical to write a book about Frederick II. She meets her son and his old/new world Croatian girlfriend for lunch; an immediate friction ensues as the two women mark their territory.

There was much preparation to setting the tone and direction of the story of these people. However, it became clear who the author did and didn't like, making several of the events that unfolded too conve
Sue Whitt
I'm glad I kept reading--the book gets better and better. Perspective switches from one character to another; so, we learn about illustration, academic writing, living through war, unpleasant siblings, emigration, distrust, and love
Dec 04, 2007 Hilary marked it as to-read
Recommended by a book review: When NYU student Toby Dale introduces his girlfriend, Salome, to his mother, things don’t go well between the two women. Chloe Dale’s distrust of Salome deepens when the young Croatian woman becomes pregnant, marries Toby, and then disappears to Europe to find her mother, who she thought was dead. Throughout the novel, the young couple’s romance is juxtaposed with Chloe’s marriage to Brendan, a detached history professor. The Dale family’s story is interwoven, in tu ...more
Written beautifully, with descriptions that come alive, this novel has nearly no redeeming characters. Each person is either irritating or dumb, and it's difficult to build a relationship with them until the last page (literally) of the book. I very much felt removed from feeling anything from the characters, even those whose journeys were tragic and therefore supposedly heart-tugging. It was as though I was watching everything through a window (hmm) or trespassing, if you will. These feelings w ...more
Rachel Riley
A well written novel but the characters didn't grab me. They all felt childish and immature. They made me cross.

Write more, please, ms Martin but try to make your characters more ... Real.

Sarah Messick-Milone
This book was very unevenly written - the author tries pull together many different settings, atmospheres, and characters ostensibly around the theme of dealing with "otherness", but she fails to say anything interesting. A weird blend of literary analysis of Wuthering Heights (only thinly veiled as the thoughts of one of the main characters), petty family squabbles in a family with a doting mother who clearly cannot let her son grow up, and graphic war scenes, this novel never really comes toge ...more
Chloe's only son Toby has fallen hopelessly in love with a college classmate, a Croatian refugee with a mysterious past. All of Chloe's motherly warning lights go off when she meets the sullen and unfriendly Salome, but her husband dismisses her concerns, as he does her concerns about a poacher wandering their upstate NY property. When Salome announces she's pregnant, Chloe can't contain her dismay or keep from expressing it to her son, thereby estranging him. The book's plot keeps pace with its ...more
Sue Davis
Globalization as invasion by foreigners or new opportunities to understand other cultures and help survivors of Balkan Wars.
Jun 12, 2008 Jenn rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Jenn by: Dorothy Halligan
I know my friend Dorothy loved this book, but I was not as crazy about it as her. (Sorry Doodle!) One of the main characters is Salome and she did not seem to have one redeeming quality. Even at the end, she was not nice to her husband. The book did keep me interested though and wondering what would happen next. It also made me really want to read Wuthering Heights.

I have been to the Balkans and have read several books on the area. This novel did paint a good, yet very brief, picture of the atro
Jul 25, 2008 Melody rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Melody by: Craig
Shelves: war
In less than 300 pages Trespass includes the Croatian war, the volatile relationship between mothers and daughters, the critical way mothers view their son’s girl friends and wives, (actually it’s pretty damn hard on mothers all the way around) the social life of college professors, the difficulties of illustrating Wuthering Heights, a poacher who could be Lebanese, becoming a widower, and how adultery can really muck things up. The author can be rather herky-jerky when bouncing around these the ...more
This book was good but could have been much better had the ending not been so abrupt and rushed.
The author's gift is that of language. The reader gets insights into the characters through carefully and sparingly chosen words allowing a picture that comes into focus as though through a lens adjustment on a camera. After I finished reading the book, I could have bid the characters goodbye without a backward glance; it was the remembered phrases that took me back to the book with highlighter in hand: "Something drops from one of the trees near the pond, something heavy, ponderous, a chatterin ...more
Detras de una historia de amor entre un joven americano y una refugiada croata, se descubre la cruel historia de guerra vivida por su familia. Final feliz.
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Valerie Martin is the author of nine novels, including Trespass, Mary Reilly, Italian Fever, and Property, three collections of short fiction, and a biography of St. Francis of Assisi, titled Salvation. She has been awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, as well as the Kafka Prize (for Mary Reilly) and Britain’s Orange Prize (for Property).
More about Valerie Martin...
Property Mary Reilly The Ghost of the Mary Celeste The Confessions of Edward Day Italian Fever

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