May Featured Books - Reviews of our book choices for the May Paperback Down Subscription Box

From the intrigues of Dickensian society to love across the barricades in 1970s Belfast and a time-travelling tale set on a futuristic moon colony, we're spanning the ages with our three featured must-read book choices for May. All are available in our subscription box choices or for one-off purchase - while stocks last!

Local Voices: Trespasses, by Louise Kennedy

Trespasses by Louise Kennedy

What's the craic?

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.

Paperback Down says...

Short-listed for the Women's Prize for Literature 2023 and winner of the An Post Irish Book Awards Novel of the Year 2022, Trespasses is complicated love story about two people from opposite sides of the community in 1970s Belfast - Cushla, a young teacher, and Micheal, a much older married man. Louise Kennedy's exquisite attention to detail in fleshing out all characters in Cushla's life, from her co-workers and the children in her classroom, to her troubled mother and their shared acquaintances, adds depth and richness to a world brimming with tension and foreboding. A compelling story of ordinary people navigating extraordinary times.

Science Fiction & Fantasy: Sea of Tranquility, by Emily St. John Mandel

Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel

What's the craic?

In 1912, eighteen-year-old Edwin St. Andrew crosses the Atlantic, exiled from English polite society. In British Columbia, he enters the forest, spellbound by the beauty of the Canadian wilderness, and for a split second all is darkness, the notes of a violin echoing unnaturally through the air. The experience shocks him to his core.

Two centuries later Olive Llewelyn, a famous writer, is traveling all over Earth, far away from her home in the second moon colony. Within the text of Olive's bestselling novel lies a strange passage: a man plays his violin for change in the echoing corridor of an airship terminal as the trees of a forest rise around him. When Gaspery-Jacques Roberts, a detective in the black-skied Night City, is hired to investigate an anomaly in time, he uncovers a series of lives upended: the exiled son of an aristocrat driven to madness, a writer trapped far from home as a pandemic ravages Earth, and a childhood friend from the Night City who, like Gaspery himself, has glimpsed the chance to do something extraordinary that will disrupt the timeline of the universe.

Paperback Down says...

This quiet and elegantly written novel explores ideas of time-travel and parallel worlds in a story that jumps seamlessly from the Canadian wilderness in 1912 to futuristic moon colonies. Poignant and perceptive, with allusions to global pandemics that feel all too relevant in this day and age, this is a book that you'll want to keep coming back to.

Bucket List Books: Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

What's the craic?

Charles Dickens's funny, frightening and tender portrayal of the orphan Pip's journey of self-discovery, is one of his best-loved works. Showing how a young man's life is transformed by a mysterious series of events - an encounter with an escaped prisoner; a visit to a black-hearted old woman and a beautiful girl; a fortune from a secret donor - Dickens's late novel is a masterpiece of psychological and moral truth.

Paperback Down says...

Think you already know the story? Whether you've been watching the recent BBC television adaptation or not, now is the perfect time to get back to the source and read, or re-read, this literary classic with it's myriad cast of iconic characters such as the orphan boy Pip, the frightening Miss Havisham and the mysterious Magwitch.

Which will you choose?

Subscribe today to guarantee you get first dibs each month on our featured picks, along with locally-made gifts and treats all carefully chosen to help you relax and unwind with your new favourite book - just click here to get started!

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