38 pages 1 hour read

Tana French

The Trespasser

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2016

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Symbols & Motifs

Murder Squad

The Murder Squad is a group of detectives, a physical location within the Dublin police force, and the pinnacle of success within law enforcement. Its presence permeates every page of the novel. Conway sees murder detectives as the elite: “Murder are the big-game hunters; we spend our days going after the top predators” (307). The novel is riddled with enthusiastic descriptions of how the squad works, the adrenaline rush of interrogating a suspect, and the thrill of closing a case: “Even when you know trained chimps could do your job that day, the walk to the scene gets you: turns you into a gladiator walking towards the arena, a few heartbeats away from a fight that’ll make emperors chant your name” (12). The squad becomes something more than a collection of people performing a task. For Conway, being part of the Murder Squad amounts to a religious calling. Conway desperately wants to succeed among these detectives. Perhaps this is the reason she reacts with extreme paranoia at the thought of the detectives rejecting her.

Fairy Tales and Fantasies

Conway uses the term “fairy tale” contemptuously when she is referring to an outrageous story. Yet, many of the characters in the novel, Conway included, indulge in magical thinking.