The Booker-shortlisted author of His Bloody Project blurs the lines between patient and therapist, fiction and documentation, and reality and dark imagination.
London, 1965. An unworldly young woman believes that a charismatic psychotherapist, Collins Braithwaite, has driven her sister to suicide. Intent on confirming her suspicions, she assumes a false identity and presents herself to him as a client, recording her experiences in a series of notebooks. But she soon finds herself drawn into a world in which she can no longer be certain of anything. Even her own character.
In Case Study, Graeme Macrae Burnet presents these notebooks interspersed with his own biographical research into Collins Braithwaite. The result is a dazzling—and often wickedly humorous—meditation on the nature of sanity, identity and truth itself, by one of the most inventive novelists writing today.
Praise for Graeme Macrae Burnet’s His Bloody Project
“It’s only a story—or is it? Graeme Macrae Burnet makes such masterly use of the narrative form that the horrifying tale he tells in His Bloody Project … seems plucked straight out of Scotland’s sanguinary historical archives.”
—New York Times Book Review
“Both a horrific tale of violence and a rumination on the societal problems for poor sharecroppers of the era.”
“[A] powerful, absorbing novel … Authors from Henry James to Vladimir Nabokov to Gillian Flynn have used [an unreliable narrator] to induce ambiguity, heighten suspense and fold an alternative story between the lines of a printed text. Mr. Burnet, a Glasgow author, does all of that and more in this page-turning period account of pathos and violence in 19th-century Scotland … [A] cleverly constructed tale … Has the lineaments of the crime thriller but some of the sociology of a Thomas Hardy novel.”
—Wall Street Journal
“Recalls William Styron’s The Confessions of Nat Turner in the way it portrays an abused people and makes the ensuing violence understandable … His Bloody Project shows that the power held by landowners and overseers allowed cruelties just like those suffered by the Virginia slaves in Confessions. Halfway between a thriller and a sociological study of an exploitive economic system with eerie echoes to our own time, His Bloody Project is a gripping and relevant read.”
“A thriller with a fine literary pedigree … His Bloody Project offers an intricate, interactive puzzle, a crime novel written, excuse my British, bloody well.”
—Los Angeles Times