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Summary

Bloomsbury presents Trespasses by Louise Kennedy, read by Brid Brennan.

An Observer Debut Novelist for 2022.

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.

Picked as a highlight for 2022 by: The Times, i paper, New Statesman, New European, Irish Times, Irish Independent.

©2022 Louise Kennedy (P)2022 Bloomsbury Publishing Plc

Critic reviews

"A deeply impressive novel...[Kennedy] writes beautifully about love, awkward love, love between two people who the more censorious in our midst might say have no business being in love.... It feels true and honest, heartbreaking and tender...I love it." (Ronan Bennett)

'A compulsively readable love story." (Emma Donoghue)

"A beautiful, devastating novel." (Nick Hornby)

What listeners say about Trespasses

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Emotionally charged.. Outstanding!

The highly observstive, descriptive way that conveys the subtle mannerisms of personalities just brings you there. I laughed and I cried, addicted to the end.. I was with and lived with Cushla, I didn't want it to end. The End of the World is a Cul de Sac is downloading - amazing writing style, Kennedy's insight into peoples behaviour is remarkable, I want more of her stories and Brid Brennan was also amazing! 👌👏👏

4 people found this helpful

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Brilliant book

A brilliant story blending dark history with love, family issues and a good dose of Northern Irish humour. I loved this book and didn’t want it to end.

3 people found this helpful

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A beautifully told story

The narrator does a wonderful job of rendering this excellently written book, sensitively capturing the characters and the subtleties. The writing itself is never superfluous and conveys the airlessness of the world while also showing us the characters’ ordinary desires. Recommend highly.

3 people found this helpful

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A Powerful and Poignant Look Back at the Troubles

I really loved this book, the tale of a very believable love affair across the Ulster sectarian divide, expertly narrated by Brid Brennan (who has a full grasp of the Belfast idiom). Louise Kennedy evokes every detail of the city in the mid 70s, which ring true if you happen to have lived through them. Cushla Lavery, the main character, is a teacher at a Catholic school and this allows us to see the horrors unfolding around her in a variety of compelling ways through the eyes of her pupils. Her lover Michael Agnew, a Protestant barrister, brings not only the reek of whiskey and tobacco to our nostrils but also many of the complexities that his liberal-leaning co-religionists had to deal with at the time, especially those in the legal profession. All around them the hard men come and go, with waves of bigotry threatening to turn to violence at any moment. But for me the revelation was the emotional depth that Kennedy has created throughout the story. The plot itself is more than strong enough to carry you through the narrative, but as each chapter unfolds you are drawn into the multiple layers of turmoil the characters face. The choices in the difficult life they lead are treated in a masterful way, richly nuanced, and the reader emerges at the end a humbler, wiser, richer person for the experience.

1 person found this helpful

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Wonderful

Best book I’ve listened to for years . A beautiful poignant raw and heartbreaking story of love in awful times .

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Compelling

A beautifully narrated & compelling storyline. I could easily listen to this again in the future.

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Superb

Beautifully observed and written. I absolutely love how Louise Kennedy writes. Tender and animalistic. Fantastic performance by Bríd Brennan, too.

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For anyone from Norn Ireland

For anyone who remembers the troubles in N Ireland, this is a great read. The colloquial phrases bring the characters to life, making them so believable. The relationship was perhaps a bit implausible but made for a good story. It made me laugh and reminded me of what it was like to grow up in a mixed community in the 1970s. Would highly recommend.

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A powerful story which gives a profound insight into life during the troubles.

Wonderful writing, great story and deep insight. Cut through with Belfast humour.
Brid Brennan is a peerless narrator.

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Superb

A wonderful hopeful book read with great feeling by Brid Brennan. One of the best books set during the Troubles that I have read