Trumpet is mostly set in London in 1997. Memories of Joss’s lifetime give the book's setting a seventy-year time-span beginning in 1927. A majority of these memories are set around the 1960s in Glasgow, specifically indicated by geographical locations within the city, such as The Barrowlands music venue, during the beginning of Joss and Millie's relationship and their early marriage. This was the period in which the Swinging London subculture took hold. This was an energetic, primarily youth-driven movement in society. The music world that the fictional character of Joss Moody would have belonged to, played a major role in this time-period. Although much of the story takes place in London where the Moodys lived, it jumps back and forth between the city and the Scottish seaside home to which Millie goes to escape the scandal and grieve in peace. The end of the novel is entirely set in Scotland, where Colman and Sophie go to investigate the place of Joss's birth. The characters of Colman and Sophie, those who are searching for something, are rarely in any one setting for long, reinforcing their unanchored state of mind.

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