Book Review: Trespasses by Louise Kennedy

About the Book:

One by one, she undid each event, each decision, each choice.

If Davy had remembered to put on a coat.

If Seamie McGeown had not found himself alone on a dark street.

If Michael Agnew had not walked through the door of the pub on a quiet night in February in his white shirt.

There is nothing special about the day Cushla meets Michael, a married man from Belfast, in the pub owned by her family. But here, love is never far from violence, and this encounter will change both of their lives forever.

As people get up each morning and go to work, school, church or the pub, the daily news rolls in of another car bomb exploded, another man beaten, killed or left for dead. In the class Cushla teaches, the vocabulary of seven-year-old children now includes phrases like ‘petrol bomb’ and ‘rubber bullets’. And as she is forced to tread lines she never thought she would cross, tensions in the town are escalating, threatening to destroy all she is working to hold together.

Tender and shocking, Trespasses is an unforgettable debut of people trying to live ordinary lives in extraordinary times.

Published by Bloomsbury Publishing

Released 3rd May 2022

My Thoughts:

This novel. My heart. This is why I read and this is also why I love Irish fiction.

‘It wasn’t until the strike ended that she realised how outrageous the encounter had been. That someone she had known most of her life had stopped her at a paramilitarised checkpoint that had been erected in the cause of preventing her kind from participating in government. And pretended not to know her.’

Trespasses is without doubt the best novel I have read about Northern Ireland. Set in the 1970s, within the midst of the ‘troubles’, it details ordinary life within extraordinary times. Whilst the plot current running throughout the novel is that of an affair between a young Catholic woman and an older married Protestant man, there is so much more to this novel. All the bits of life in between, the things both said and unsaid. The fear, the longing, the terrible injustice of all that has happened in Northern Ireland and what it’s done to families, friends, and neighbours. Trespasses is truly like nothing else I’ve read before and is utterly heart wrenching in its unflinching honesty. I adore the way Louise Kennedy writes and will forevermore read every single thing she ever gives us.

‘It was just bad luck, the sort of thing that happened here all the time.’


Thanks to the publisher for the review copy.

7 thoughts on “Book Review: Trespasses by Louise Kennedy

  1. Pingback: Top 15 Books of my 2022 Reading Year | Theresa Smith Writes

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