It's my turn to take a whack at convincing you to read The Heaven &…
It is my responsibility today to promote our spring Read With Us selection, Trespasses by Louise Kennedy. And it’s a responsibility I am shouldering gladly because I think it’s a wonderful book and completely worthy of your time.
It’s set in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, it tells the story of Cushla Lavery, a 24 years old Catholic school teacher who lives with her widowed mother and moonlights as a bartender at her brother’s pub. She finds herself drawn to an old married man and chooses a dangerous path with ramifications for her entire community.
The book is very much a character study, extremely well written and intense. It’s not an easy book (what fun would that be anyway?) but it’s a worthwhile read that captures the upheaval and divisiveness of the time brilliantly. While bombs and incendiary devices are exploding, while children are facing unknown horror and poverty, while privileged people are embracing traditional Irish language and culture, ordinary people are just trying to live their normal lives. And you just know, with a growing sense of dread, that nothing at all is going to work out for any of them.
There is a lot of press surrounding this debut novel, and I definitely recommend the interview from All Things Considered where NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly has a conversation with Louise Kennedy. You can listen (it’s 7 minutes long) or you can read the transcript here. As an aside, I am currently listening to Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe and I’m finding it to be a great companion book to Trespasses.