Novel of the week: Case Study by Graeme Macrae Burnet
This book is a ‘page-turning blast’: funny, sinister and perfectly plotted
“Graeme Macrae Burnet is a master of the false but apparently authentic document,” said Allan Massie in The Scotsman. Such records featured heavily in His Bloody Project (2015), his Booker-shortlisted novel about a fictional 19th century murder. And they do so again in his “uncommonly interesting” new work.
Case Study opens with Burnet informing us that he is writing a biography of the radical psychiatrist Collins Braithwaite, who “became a celebrity in the 1960s”, said Jake Kerridge in The Daily Telegraph.
Extracts from this biography follow, alternating with passages from notebooks supposedly sent to Burnet by a woman who believes that Braithwaite drove her sister to suicide. It’s a novel full of “tricksy contrivances”, but Burnet also brilliantly captures his characters’ voices.
From a description alone, Case Study might sound like a “punishing chin-stroker of a novel”, said James Walton in The Times. But it’s nothing of the sort. It’s a “page-turning blast”: funny, sinister and perfectly plotted. “Rarely has being constantly wrong-footed been so much fun.”
Saraband 288pp £14.99; The Week Bookshop £11.99
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