Trespassers CL

Robert Roper, Author
Robert Roper, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $19.95 (264p) ISBN 978-0-89919-987-0
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Set in California's Santa Cruz Mountains, this draggy tale of adultery in the woods recalls Lady Chatterley's Lover with a lush, realistic, sensitive exploration of sexual love--and, unfortunately, with an annoyingly faithful imitation of D. H. Lawrence in his mythifying, vapid mode. Catherine Mansure is stagnating in her marriage to former Berkeley radical Rick, now a self-controlled, pompous scion who tends his wealthy family's wooded estate and corporate affairs. While Rick sinks into semi-invalidism, Catherine makes love on the forest floor with Henry Bascomb, a reticent woodsman and bluegrass fiddler who grows a marijuana crop on Mansure land. In the manner of Lady Chatterley, Bascomb is the elemental intruder who ravages a sexually dormant upper-class woman whose very body parts brim with primordial, goddess-like powers. Catherine, who neglects her Nintendo-playing son Ben, ignores the cautionary advice of her friend Maryanne, a tough divorce lawyer, and of her own sister Muriel, who observes: ``The fog that envelopes you . . . wonderful, in a way, like some storybook romance. But it's being played out in real time.'' Rick, who's having an affair of his own, condemns his wife as a self-absorbed seeker of true feelings, a characterization that fatuous, whiny Catherine nearly earns. Roper ( Mexico Days ) makes the most of the Lawrentianok/rl echoes and parallels, though readers expecting a lot of graphic love scenes will be disappointed. (Oct.)
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