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Trespass

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3.24  ·  Rating Details  ·  572 Ratings  ·  127 Reviews
Toby and Salome attend the same college, live in the same neighbourhood, and have the same political views. But their pasts, and the stories of their families' lives, are worlds apart. When they decide to spend their lives together, they must find a way to reconcile their two families. It becomes a tragically difficult task.
Paperback, 288 pages
Published July 10th 2008 by Phoenix (first published January 1st 2007)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,028)
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E
Dec 15, 2008 E rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kallie
Mar 12, 2014 Kallie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Marvin
Aug 01, 2009 Marvin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
John
Aug 27, 2015 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In a sense this is an unsatisfying novel, in that the plot often doesn't seem to know where it's going, but it's so beautifully written and so full of interesting ideas that this hardly seems to matter. I found myself reading it almost as if it were a thriller -- I was that rapt.

Middle-aged book illustrator Chloe and history prof Brendan have a single son, Toby, of whom Chloe is overprotective. She's loathed all his girlfriends to date and in her opinion the latest, Salome, a Croat who came to t
...more
Nette
Jan 27, 2008 Nette rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 04, 2012 Cee Martinez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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

...more
Pamela
Jul 31, 2011 Pamela rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Rose
Jul 21, 2014 Rose rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Megan
Apr 04, 2009 Megan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Elizabeth
I listened to this story on CD. It was very disturbing to me, I think because I personalized it. The mother of the story, a good mother to her only child, is pushed away, all good qualities forgotten when the son finds a girlfriend. The father in the story is also disturbing, as he seems to float along, spending little time or thought on his wife. The girlfriend's mother has a story that is distasteful, as it begins with a tawdry act of disloyalty. Disloyalty, as a matter of fact, seems the them ...more
Nancy Lewis
P139: She feels her territory has been invaded and she is under attack. She wants to throw the intruders out, go back to the way things were, but this, she must realize, is not an option, and so she's panicked... the outsiders are insiders now, staking their claims

It helps to have read Wuthering Heights beforehand.


Goya's The Countess of Chinchon


Goya's Saturn Devouring His Son
Kat
Jun 06, 2010 Kat rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 15, 2009 Lisa Mettauer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jennifer
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
...more
asra
Feb 20, 2008 asra rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Teresa
Apr 01, 2008 Teresa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
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
Megan
Jan 19, 2016 Megan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book did not have the ending that I expected. I don't think I enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed having read it. I feel like I learned something about Yugoslavia that I did not know before. It also had interesting commentary on families and on the Iraq war. This is a book I wish I had read in a book group, because I feel like there is a lot to discuss about it and I don't really know where to begin.
Anne
Oct 04, 2015 Anne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this novel, listening to in on CD while commuting. I got so wrapped up in it I had to bring it in and finish it this weekend. About 3/4 of the way through, though, I did reach a point where I was not liking any of the main characters, but there was a twist in the plot that made them, chill, and the final quarter of the book very good. This novel held my attention all the way through.
Samir Rawas Sarayji
Aug 28, 2015 Samir Rawas Sarayji rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dumped
I cared for Salome but not Chloe or any other character, which resulted in me reading 70 pages before dumping the novel. Sadly, the combination of an intrusive narrator and an omniscient point of view made me want to grab the imaginary hair on my bald head and yank it! There is a lack of depth to most of the characters and a constant vagueness concerning the narrative. Not for me.
Deb
May 15, 2015 Deb rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
BarbaraNathalie
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
...more
Sue Whitt
May 02, 2015 Sue Whitt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Hilary
Dec 04, 2007 Hilary marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
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
Jen
Oct 02, 2007 Jen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 18, 2014 Rachel Riley rated it it was ok
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.

Adrienne
Valerie Martin writes wonderful sentences and I loved "Property". This novel, however, didn't quite know what it wanted to do. Is it about war? Is it a domestic drama? The pieces didn't all add up for me.
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
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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).
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