Monday, 24 September 2007

Trespass by Valerie Martin

Valerie Martin
Weidenfeld & Nicholson €??

VALERIE MARTIN'S Mary Reilly was filmed with Julia Roberts and John Malkovich, and her Property won the Orange Prize in 2003.

She's written on a jaw-dropping number of subjects, even including a book about St Francis. From the Deep South, she's now a native New Yorker.

New York's new left is the core of this story of a family getting over the bumps from one generation to the next.

Chloe and Brendan are a book illustrator and a historian, kindly, well-off lefties who just hate the neocons. Their son brings home a girl with a dangerous and biblical name, Salome.

Salome is a Croat, a watchful, pointy little thing who's convinced, quite rightly, that her man's mother doesn't like or trust her.

This normative enough stuff blossoms into a twisty tale of Croatian and Serbian atrocities, strange Basques who hang around with shotguns, mild political activism and generational strife.

It doesn't quite come together - you get the feeling the writer would really much prefer to be telling the story of an American revolution - but it's an absorbing family story.
**** and a half stars

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