Set in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, a shattering novel about a young woman caught between allegiance to community and a dangerous passion.
Amid daily reports of violence, Cushla lives a quiet life with her mother in a small town near Belfast. By day she teaches at a parochial school; at night she fills in at her family’s pub. There she meets Michael Agnew, a barrister who’s made a name for himself defending IRA members. Against her better judgment – Michael is not only Protestant but older, and married – Cushla lets herself get drawn in by him and his sophisticated world, and an affair ignites. Then the father of a student is savagely beaten, setting in motion a chain reaction that will threaten everything, and everyone, Cushla most wants to protect.
As tender as it is unflinching, Trespasses is a heart-pounding, heart-rending drama of thwarted love and irreconcilable loyalties, in a place what you come from seems to count more than what you do, or whom you cherish.
About the Author
Louise Kennedy grew up near Belfast. She has written for The Guardian, The Irish Times, and BBC Radio 4, and she is also the author of a collection of short stories, The End of the World Is a Cul de Sac. Before becoming a writer, she worked as a chef for almost thirty years. She lives in Sligo, Ireland.
Advanced praise for Trespasses:
“Kennedy’s characters are born and live under dark stars; she illuminates the unescapable harms that occur in that darkness.” —Kirkus Reviews
“A beautiful, devastating novel. It feels real and true, and it loves its characters, utterly authentic people trying to live ordinary lives in desperate times. This book will last.” —Nick Hornby
“Trespasses touches tenderly and hits hard – a compulsively readable love story which is also a lament for a society agonizingly divided against itself. Every word rings true.” —Emma Donoghue
“Distinguished by a quality rare in fiction at any time: a sense of utter conviction. It is a story told with such compulsive attention to the textures of its world that every page feels like a moral and intellectual event.” —The Guardian
“A heartbreaking story of forbidden love.” —Sunday Times (UK)
“Transcends time and place. . . Trespasses feels so authentic it’s as if nobody wrote it at all; it always existed” —Irish Independent
“Kennedy writes with fierce power. . . . her tenderly sharpened prose open to feelings so presently intimate that her sentences take shape like a body beside you. . . . A writer of exceptional empathy, style, and skill.” —Irish Times
“A master storyteller. . . . The novel was invented for writing like this.” —Sunday Independent