Rose Tremain, Norton, $24.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-393-07956-2
Two pairs of siblings and their twisted pasts converge in this gripping, dark novel from Orange Prize–winner Tremain (The Road Home). In the southern French Cévennes region, Audrun lives a peaceful if bitter life in a small bungalow a stone's throw from her family home. She's been cast out, either by inheritance or some terrible transgression; her drunken, spiteful brother, Aramon, who still resides there, hopes to sell the home to foreign tourists, an act that would further uproot Audrun. Meanwhile, Anthony Verey, a once-renowned London antiques dealer, having reached an existential precipice, descends on his sister, Veronica, who lives near the Cévennes with her lover, Kitty. As Anthony and Kitty quietly battle for Veronica's affections, Audrun and Aramon struggle with their history and land. Anthony wants a home in the region, hoping it will fill his void, and he joins the wave of foreigners hungrily circling the area. Soon, a series of rash decisions impacts all of their lives in brutal, unforgettable ways. Tremain renders this untamed area with haunting prose, but the affecting sense of dread she builds makes her tale at times unrelentingly grim. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/09/2010
Release date: 10/01/2010
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