NAMED A BEST BOOK OF 2016 BY NEWSWEEK , NPR , THE GUARDIAN , THE TELEGRAPH , AND THE SUNDAY TIMES
A NEW YORK TIMES EDITORS' CHOICE
"THOUGHT PROVOKING FICTION"-- THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
A brutal triple murder in a remote Scottish farming community in 1869 leads to the arrest of seventeen-year-old Roderick Macrae. Read more...
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NAMED A BEST BOOK OF 2016 BY NEWSWEEK, NPR, THE GUARDIAN, THE TELEGRAPH, AND THE SUNDAY TIMES
A NEW YORK TIMES EDITORS' CHOICE
"THOUGHT PROVOKING FICTION"--THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
A brutal triple murder in a remote Scottish farming community in 1869 leads to the arrest of seventeen-year-old Roderick Macrae. There is no question that Macrae committed this terrible act. What would lead such a shy and intelligent boy down this bloody path? And will he hang for his crime?
Presented as a collection of documents discovered by the author, His Bloody Project opens with a series of police statements taken from the villagers of Culdie, Ross-shire. They offer conflicting impressions of the accused; one interviewee recalls Macrae as a gentle and quiet child, while another details him as evil and wicked. Chief among the papers is Roderick Macrae's own memoirs where he outlines the series of events leading up to the murder in eloquent and affectless prose. There follow medical reports, psychological evaluations, a courtroom transcript from the trial, and other documents that throw both Macrae's motive and his sanity into question.
Graeme Macrae Burnet's multilayered narrative--centered around an unreliable narrator--will keep the reader guessing to the very end. His Bloody Project is a deeply imagined crime novel that is both thrilling and luridly entertaining from an exceptional new voice.
- ISBN-13: 9781510719217
- ISBN-10: 1510719210
- Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing
- Publish Date: October 2016
- Page Count: 300
- Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 1.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.05 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-09-26
- Reviewer: Staff
Burnets fascinating second novel (after The Disappearance of Adèle Bedeau), which has been shortlisted for the 2016 Man Booker Prize, purports to be an account of the celebrated case of Roderick Macrae, a 17-year-old crofter who was indicted for three brutal murders carried out in his native village of Culduie in the Scottish Highlands in 1869. The documents mentioned in the subtitle include statements from his neighbors; an account written by Roderick while awaiting trial; extracts from the delightfully titled Travels in the Border-Lands of Lunacy by J. Bruce Thomson, a man of science in the field of criminal anthropology; and coverage of the trial gleaned from newspaper accounts and transcripts. The Rashomon-like shifting of perspectives adds depth to the characters and gives readers the pleasure of repeatedly reinterpreting events. Although Burnet paints a disturbing picture of the hopelessness and hardships of tenant farmers, as well as providing an eye-opening introduction to the fallibility of so-called expert witnesses, this is not a bleak book. Rather, it is sly, poignant, gritty, thought-provoking, and sprinkled with wit. (Oct.)