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His Bloody Project: Documents Relating to the Case of Roderick Macrae (2015)

de Graeme Macrae Burnet

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1,6128411,028 (3.86)219
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.… (més)
  1. 30
    Alias Grace de Margaret Atwood (cbl_tn)
    cbl_tn: Both are Booker shortlisted novels that tell the story of a 19th century crime. Atwood's is based on a real crime.
  2. 10
    Burial Rites de Hannah Kent (Becchanalia)
  3. 00
    The Gallows Pole de Benjamin Myers (wandering_star)
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» Mira també 219 mencions

Es mostren 1-5 de 84 (següent | mostra-les totes)
This was an interesting one. When I first heard about this book, I was drawn to its unusual format and premise. Essentially, it's a number of (fictional) documents all relating to a 19th century murder case in the Scottish Highlands. That and I heard that it was supposed to be extremely scary. Except that I made the last bit up—I think I got confused with something else (and I still have no idea what). So I dived into it thinking, Yes, something scary for October! And it wasn't that at all, which made it feel quite slow. BUT, once I was about halfway through, my initial reaction didn't matter anymore. I went from not being quite sure about it to being totally absorbed, and I now understand why it made the 2016 Man Booker shortlist. Burnet has created an astonishingly realistic account (at least to me, in my limited knowledge of its subject and setting) and I have become very invested in it. Please read so we can discuss. ( )
  feralcreature | Oct 31, 2023 |
An excellent historical crime novel. A reader told me that he was concerned that this book was told using multiple documents, and hadn't read it for that reason, but the documents read like a novel and are not distracting. ( )
  markm2315 | Jul 1, 2023 |
Difficult to review without spoiling it for the reader but would advise you Google Roderick Macrae after you have finished this book to appreciate how well written this novel is...... ( )
  MerrylT | May 18, 2023 |
In this novel, Burnet captures the life of a downtrodden crofter in northern Scotland by recounting the circumstances leading up to his murder trial.

The story is recounted through witness statements, a confession, memoirs and reportage. Roddy Macrae is a very sympathetic figure, much put-upon by his eventual victim, the local Constable Lachlan McKenzie. Barnet reveals the capriciousness of a life where the powerless were utterly at the mercy of local officialdom, and an inexorable progress towards disaster, where even the most horrific violent acts can seem justified.

As Burnet develops his plot he challenges the reader's assumptions about what has gone before and introduces a neat twist that shows events in a completely new light. This lifts the book out of the ordinary and makes it a highly unusual example of a historical crime novel; one which informs and makes you think. ( )
  gjky | Apr 9, 2023 |
This book was a historical courtroom drama with an interesting structure. Set in the late 1800's, the reader is introduced to a prisoner, Roderick Macrae, who is writing his memoir. The bulk of the book is the text of this memoir which I found to be an engaging story of a struggling tenant farmer family suffering under the "rule" of a dictatorial constable.

The remaining non-memoir chapters provide records that help the reader learn more about Macrae, beyond his memoir, and detail his trial for three murders.

The book was a four star one for me in terms of my overall interest in the story and the nice job Burnet does in portraying Macrae's character, but there were components of the trial that really just didn't work well for me. The arguments put forth by Macrae's attorney seemed a bit tortured and the judge's summation of the trial (after all the testimony was shared with the reader) was an annoyance. This portion knocked a star off for me. ( )
  Anita_Pomerantz | Mar 23, 2023 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 84 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Een jaar voor de dramatische gebeurtenissen verliest Roderick Macrea zijn moeder. Omdat iedereen haar persoonlijkheid vergeleek met ‘het zonlicht dat de gewassen koesterde’ was het hele dorp in diepe rouw gedompeld. Zijn vader leek er niet veel last van te hebben, hij was altijd in mineurstemming. Dorpsgenoten leggen de situatie allemaal anders uit. Maar er komt wel degelijk een beeld uit naar voren dat Roderick Macrae en zijn vader telkens weer vernederd werd door dorpsgenoot Lachlan Mackenzie...lees verder >
 
Graeme Macrae Burnet’s “His Bloody Project” was shortlisted for The Man Booker Prize 2016, and it is easy to see why. It is consummately conceived and competently written. Its most interesting aspect is the clever blending of reality and fiction. For example, woven into the story are some figures – notably prison doctor and psychology specialist J. Bruce Thomson and journalist John Murdoch who actually existed at the time. Their roles, their thoughts, as portrayed in the novel are those that they held at the historical time of the events of the story unfolds. There are other “real” elements that have been blended in as well.
 
Burnet has been quick to point out that it's not a typical crime novel ("I prefer to call it 'a novel about a crime'"), and though this is indisputable, it is also true that it's just not a typical novel. The book is presented as a true-crime dossier per its subtitle, "Documents Relating to the Case of Roderick Macrae" — a group of found documents excavated by a fictional version of Burnet in the course of researching his grandfather (Donald "Tramp" Macrae), coupled with Burnet's reconstruction of his ancestor's trial. There are witness statements and medical reports, but the centerpiece of these documents is the fictional memoir of 17-year-old Roderick Macrae, written in prison after his arrest for a gory triple murder in his home village of Culduie in 1869.
 
The facts, based on a real incident in 19th-century Scotland, almost become irrelevant, so good is the telling in prose of unusual clarity. Graeme Macrae Burnet’s Man Booker-shortlisted second novel has all the advantages: brilliant characterisation, conflicting viewpoints, sharp dialogue, the natural eloquence of Robert Louis Stevenson and, above all, assured pacing, supported by a masterful feel for ambivalence.

True to the best of crime writing, the genius lies in the story and the way in which the characters react. It may not be a conventional thriller, but it is no less thrilling for that. The Scottish author’s gleeful wit frequently surfaces in exchanges between characters that live off the page in a work which conveys not only a sense of period but also of place (a remote village). To say it is an obvious screenplay does not diminish the sheer literary ease which underpins the narrative.
 
His Bloody Project appears to channel a bookish version of the currently fashionable “found footage” film genre, in which verisimilitude is suggested by randomly cobbled-together documentary material forming a fragmentary narrative. In this case, Burnet includes witness statements, postmortem documents on murder victims, a documentary account of a trial — and a lengthy memoir by the man accused of triple murder. The subtitle of the book reads: “Documents relating to the case of Roderick Macrae”, and these ersatz papers build a picture of an insular Highland crofting community in the 19th century while also presenting a fascinating picture of attitudes to the criminology of the era.
 

» Afegeix-hi altres autors (10 possibles)

Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Burnet, Graeme Macraeautor primaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Feldmann, ClaudiaTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Frieyro, AliciaTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Jongeling, AnneTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Mehren, HegeTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Nilsson, JohanTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Ortelio, MassimoTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Sibony, JulieTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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I am writing this at the behest of my advocate, Mr Andrew Sinclair, who since my incarceration here in Inverness has treated me with a degree of civility I in no way deserve.
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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.

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