Wednesday, June 27, 2012

What Are They Reading? Tresspass

Authors tend to be readers, so it is natural for them to create characters who like to read.  It is always interesting to me to read what books the characters are reading in the books I read. Even if I can't say that ten times fast.

Usually, the characters' choice of books reflects the author's tastes or, I sometimes think, what the author was reading at the time.  But sometimes the character's reading material is a clue to the character's personality, or is even a part of the story. 

This is an occasional blog event. If anyone wants to join in, feel free to leave a comment with a link to your related post. And feel free to use the button.  If this catches on, I can pick a day and make it a weekly event.


This is a great, tangled story of grown up, messed up families living in southern France.  None of them are readers.  The French brother and sister barely function, let alone read. The English brother collects antiques,  his sister designs gardens, and her girlfriend paints watercolors, but none of the three read.

So the one book scene really stands out.  Anthony, the Englishman, describes his mother's death of cancer, including the detail of her re-reading favorite book while in the hospital.  The book was Staying On by Paul Scott.

Staying On is the sequel to Scott's Raj Quartet and won the Booker Prize in 1977.  It is the story of a British colonial couple who stays on in the hills of India after India's independence. 

It could be that Anthony's mother read Staying On because she was from South Africa and enjoyed the post-colonial theme of the novel.  But the plot of Staying On also ties in with the "trespass" themes of Tremain's book.  There is a potential, legal trespass involving the boundary lines of the French siblings' property, but there are also trespasses against family ties, emotional bonds, decency, and personal security.

Now I want to read Staying On to see how the book connects with Trespass.  But I am such a completist that I first want to read The Raj Quartet, which is on my TBR shelf.

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