Trespasses – Louise Kennedy


● I had initially thought that this novel was a gentle exploration of the challenges of a romance between a Catholic woman and a Protestant man during the Troubles, however three-quarters of the way through things took a decidedly different turn and we moved from gentle to actually-pretty-bloody-intense.

I’m not sure if the previous gentle pace had engendered enough commitment from me to be completely invested in the outcomes for the characters, but this was still a great read and a showed the very personal impact of this Irish conflict. – Suzy

Booby trap. Incendiary device. Gelignite. Nitroglycerine. Petrol bomb. Rubber bullets. Saracen. Internment. The Special Powers Act. Vanguard. The vocabulary of a seven-year-old child now.

● Cushla is a 24-year-old Irish woman who is a school teacher during the day and works in the family pub with her brother in the evenings after the death of their father. It is in the pub she meets an older married man and they begin an affair.

The Troubles of 1970s Ireland provided a vivid and impactful setting, but I wasn’t moved by the love affair. Michael was a recidivist philanderer and in my opinion, taking advantage of someone half his age. However, I did appreciate its representation of the time, when unhealthy attraction can grow from societal conflict and how any kind of interaction between a Catholic and a Protestant must be kept secret.

There were other interesting sub plots such as Cushla’s relationship with her mother and the plight of one of her students, Davey, and his family. Also this book has a real banger of an ending! Worth reading. – Rachel

Published 2023
Bloomsbury Publishing
304 pages

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