“Case Study”

Having read Graeme Macrae Burnet’s His Bloody Project, I was looking forward to Case Study – but unfortunately I was disappointed with what I found. I hadn’t expected quite so much humour.

Clearly not all of this is down to Burnet. I find humour in novels difficult, partly because I struggle to ‘laugh out loud’ when reading, and partly because I find myself looking for something deeper, a more serious intent. In Case Study such intent is clearly there – an attempt to examine the nature of sanity / insanity, the personas we adopt, the inevitably unseen spectre of self-delusion etc. – but I found the humour got in the way, it was distracting. Tackling the same topics without the humour – and with less caricatured main characters – would have made the book much darker, of course (a darkness the novel begins to trespass toward as we get closer to the end).

I also found myself surprised that Case Study made the 2022 Booker Longlist.

Yet having said all that, I’ll happily read the next novel Burnet writes…