At first there appear to be four separate stories: a young school-girl, Melody, unhappy about her family's move from Paris to the wilds of the South of France; a wealthy, homosexual antiques dealer in London yearning for change; his sister living in the south of France in a lesbian relationship; an aging Frenchman living in a crumbling mansion and his sister living resentfully nearby in a bungalow. Her life scarred by being sexual abused by her brother and father when a young woman. As you can see there's a morass of unhappiness to add to a slowing evolving story with tragic consequences. The title 'Trepass' gradually begins to make sense as the four sets of characters eventually come together in the South of France.
At first I thought the book was just going to be about feelings and the evocation of the atmosphere of the South of France, but, as you'll find out, it's much more than this. The pleasure of the book is greatly enhanced by Juliet Stephenson's excellent narration: she uses her beautiful and expressive voice to bring the many characters to life.
Gradually one gets to know the three generations of a family as the story swings back and forth in time. You have to be on your toes to keep track of the era being described as there are no chapter headings to give you a clue. The character whose life is at the centre of the book is Alice and her important relationship with John. For anybody who has lost a loved one the final chapters are very poignant but do ring true.
A fine book describing family relationships with insight. Excellently narrated.
I enjoy these Brunetti books not because they are intense thrillers or clever investigations but for the characters who populate the pages as they seem like old friends whose foibles and day-to-day lives make pleasant listening. There is a crime to be detected in this book but it is incidental to the pleasure of hearing about Brunetti's famiiy, his colleagues, the lovely food he eats and the atmosphere of Venice that pervades these books. David Rintoul is a great narrator.
Prof of Global Health & Development - wide interests, fiction & non-, politics, justice & rights, culture & food, travel, art & creativity
Beautifully written and narrated - the story of a Slovenian unskilled worker, migrating to Tasmania in search of a better future. Against the backdrop of racism, alcohol and violence, we learn of the stories experienced by these migrants, prior to their departure from Europe, and of how the violence recurs to dominate family members in Tasmania.
Beautifully written and narrated, the violence is as predictable as inevitable, anticipated by the reader in the same way that Sylvia, the daughter, awaits her drunken father's repeated physical abuse.
It's a story also of resilience by a young woman who exercises her agency to escape and take control of her own life, despite all the adversity, and about the deep bonds exerted by family alongside the hurt.
The novel informs us also of the post-World War II Europeans who settled in Australia and helped build its infrastructure, and of the systematic racism, exploitation and poverty they faced. The stories and tragedies from their European homelands structure their identities and challenging lives in Tasmania.
From one generation to the next, prior identity is attenuated and new identities formed. Despite much bleakness, this is also a story of agency and resilience, of overcoming violence and abuse, and of building the future.