My book review of 'Trespasses' by Louise Kennedy

by Louise Kennedy
by Louise Kennedy

This novel has been attracting a lot of attention and a friend insisted I should read it. But it didn't appeal! I don't like the cover. Title doesn't grab me. Don't know the author. And wasn't convinced I wanted to read another book set in Ireland.

Well, I'm so glad I put all these reservations aside and dived in. Amazing. Brilliant. Powerful. Real. Couldn't put it down. 

Cushla is a young teacher who works a few hours a week in her family's pub in Northern Ireland. One day barrister and married man, Michael Agnew walks in, and they begin an affair.

She thinks that she is keeping their relationship discreet, a secret, but in the light of tragic events, she comes to realise that nothing is secret here.

What's more, their relationship has had to take place with the backdrop of violence, ever present in this region. The children, seven-year-olds in her class are familiar with 'petrol bombs' and 'rubber bullets', and if a child is absent one day it may well be because their father has been assaulted or arrested.

The book is set in the 70s and is stunningly and shockingly atmospheric. Memories come flooding back of hearing the news at that time and you feel a renewed appreciation of the fear and terror the people experienced just going about their everyday lives. It's brilliant. I want to read it again.

Date of this review: April 2023
Book publication date: 30th March 2023