A brutal triple murder in a remote Scottish farming community in 1869 leads to the arrest of 17-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?
Presented as a collection of documents, His Bloody Project opens with a series of police statements taken from the villagers, which offer conflicting impressions, throwing Macrae's motive and his sanity into question.
Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2016.
©2015 Graeme Macrae Burnet (P)2016 Saraband Books, Audio produced by RNIB Talking Books Service, Glasgow
"A truly ingenious thriller as confusingly multi-layered as an Escher staircase." (Daily Express)
"The Man Booker judges got it right: this really is one of the most convincing and engrossing novels of the year." (The Scotsman)
"A story without purpose..."
The story is just an account of events 150 years ago in the scottish highlands.
If the history of Scotland is of interest to you then you might enjoy the book. The book is well written and the narration is fine.
"Loved this book, well read don't be put off by the first reader you hear, I nearly was"
Enjoyed this book, I would describe it as a slow burner, that when the core deed is done, it seemed to thump me in the chest! Bam....so well written to make me feel like that.
Dont be put off by the author reading the preface, (very staccato) the core book is well read by Crawford John and Cameron Mowat. I was totally gripped. Loved and hated the ending! Loved the discussion of pros and cons, hated the continuing story in the court room, felt the book ended at the original outcome.
Loved the setting, the history, loved the situation
Would recommend. Loved it.
"Much, Much Better than the Sample Suggests"
The different styles of prose. The novel comprises witness statements, two memoirs, a trial transcript and more - each flawlessly executed.
The main protagonist is Roddy - a triple murderer. While it may be hard to take his side, he is nevertheless a sensitive and sympathetic character.
DO NOT BE PUT OFF BY THE SAMPLE! This is merely the author's prologue. He is great at writing, but narration, not so much. The two narrators perfectly capture the tone of their respective parts and were a pleasure to listen to.
Pass. This reads more like a documentary than a feature film - and is all the more compelling for it.
I wish Audible would feature the narration of all readers in a multi-reader production. Otherwise the sample can be very misleading.
hard to stop listening. I didn't want it to finish. I loved every word and I now really want to visit the area. the story was brought to life wonderfully.
Well written and masterfully narrated. A tragic story which provided an insight into highland life in the late nineteenth century.
Brilliantly written and narrated. I was totally absorbed into the lives it describes. I have read the book and found it's audible equivalent superb. My maternal grandmother came from a crofting community which she remembered as harsh but community spirited in a way our urban world has largely lost. I will read and listen to this novel many times I am sure.
"Fiction or non-fiction - I would say the latter"
Interesting novel which appears to be historically sound and geographically accurate. Author gives an excellent account of life, surroundings and moral values of the time.
Great narration - do not be out off by the author's monotone narration in the introduction (and Audible sample) it is only for a few minutes and the narration of the book by Crawford Logan and Cameron Mowat is excellent. Each to their own strength - the author should stick to his writing talents and leave narrating to those who can verbally express themselves.
I would recommend this Audible book.
"Original and Intriguing"
There are some books which lend themselves better to the audio format and this is undoubtedly one of them.
A great story enhanced by brilliant narration
"One of the best books I've read"
one of the best books I've read, up there with the book thief, my favourite ever book. This book is real life, tragedy and empathy. I feel it should have won the Booker prize, and yes I have read the sell out.
"How many truths are there?"
It's 1869 when 17 year old Roddy Macrae appears in his isolated Highland village of Culduie covered in blood and freely admits that he has just killed three people: Lachlan McKenzie who holds harsh authority over the crofters including Roddy's father, his daughter Flora with whom Roddy is in love, and her little brother. WHO did the crime is no mystery, but WHY he did it is the guts of His Bloody Project. By the end of it all, you're still not sure.
Roddy's 'memoir' forms the major part of the story and could stand alone as a novel, but what makes this very different from another crime novel is the author's bold devices. It starts with the author himself reading his Preface where he explains how he came across Roddy's memoir when researching his own grandfather. In fact it's all fiction, but it sets the tone for us to question what we're hearing.
There follows statements given to the police from villagers who see Roddy as a bright lad with a good brain, a 'queer boy' suffering from the death of his mother, or a wicked boy raised in a 'natural state of savagery'. Who do we believe? Perhaps all testimonies are the 'truth'. Then follows Roddy's memoir which sees Roddy denied the opportunity of continuing his education by his harsh father who believes in savage beatings; his tentative love for Flora which has no future; Lachland McKenzie forcing Roddy's father to give up some of the land allotted to him after his wife died in childbirth which makes it well nigh impossible to feed his family... and much more. It seems clear that Roddy goes off with his 'flauchter' (a spade) and pickaxe with the express purpose of wreaking his revenge on the man who has cruelly victimised his father and the sister he loves who hides a dreadful secret beneath her loose shawls.
The police records detail the evidence and new elements emerge which don't tally with Roddy's memoir, and finally there is the trial which sounds exactly like a real trial (but as all this is fiction never took place) and which raises many other issues. Particularly interesting is the question of moral insanity put forward in Roddy's defence. I'm not going to give away the ending, but it is brilliantly crafted and leaves you thinking about Roddy, the injustices meted out to crofters, the nature of the criminal mind - and just how many strands to a truth there are and whether those strands make up just one, or many truths.
This is an excellent book, but as an audiobook it has serious faults. The biggest bad idea was to have the author himself Graeme Macrae Burnet read the Preface which is enough to turn off any listener. Burnet is a great writer but a shockingly dreary dull reader - I cannot imagine why he was used. The main narrators were good, except that Roddy's memoir was read with a number of words wrongly stressed (eg ignominy) and with an intermittent intrusive interrogative intonation which is common now, but strikes an irritatingly wrong note for 1869. (And 'blackguard' is not pronounced as two words 'black guard'!). In the trial scene, Flora's friend, a Scots lass like herself, speaks with a wholly English accent.
So full marks for the content - but the audio interpretation is badly flawed.
"Well written, realistic penny dreadful"
The author has done quite a spectacular job of researching this piece of historical fiction, bringing to life a gruesome episode in 1800s Scotland. Expect to listen to a documentary type audiobook and not a particularly suspenseful thriller. It took a long time to get into this book, mostly because the performance was quite dry and dull, hence I struggled to concentrate. During the crux of the story, in which Roddy is in court, the story picks up slightly, sounding more like a courtroom drama. He attempts to explore the idea of moral insanity, but falls short mostly because of the lack of understanding they would have at the time the book is set.
Well written and researched but a bit bland.
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