Shelf Reflection: His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet

Shelf Reflection: His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet

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Every once in a while, we need to take a step back from our avid reading and appreciate some of the beauties we have on our shelves. If writing is an art, then reading is too, and we need to take some time to appreciate that in our books and ourselves. 

His Bloody Project
His Bloody Project

Title: His Bloody Project: Documents Relating to the Case of Roderick Macrae

Author: Graeme Macrae Burnet

Accolades: shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2016

How I Found It: When I was in Scotland, this book was everywhere. In all the shop windows, people were reading it on the bus, people were talking about it. I finally decided to buy it after a friend of mine recommended it. 

In a Nutshell: Roderick Macrae, the eldest son in a crofting (tenant farming) family, commits a triple homicide that rocks his entire village. He admits to the crime, but his lawyer tries to plead not guilty by reason of insanity – for how else could a boy commit such an atrocity? Roderick, under court order, writes his account of the proceedings, explaining – in morbid detail – what he did and why.

Why I Liked It: Despite the fact that I don’t do well with gore (there was one line in this book that actually made me throw up in my mouth a bit), the story and the writing dragged me along. I wanted answers to all the same questions the judge in the story wanted, and, even though I knew what happened (you know right from the beginning that Roderick is a murderer), I felt like I was on tenterhooks while trying to find those answers. And, besides, you have to respect an author whose writing is so vivid that it can have an actual, physical effect on you while reading. 

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