This novel was a finalist for the Man Booker Prize in 2016 and, although it didn't win, there has been oodles of publicity and interest. It is difficult to categorize but I will agree with the author who said "it is a novel about a crime rather than a crime novel". The multiple perspective format allows the reader to consider the often contradictory evidence and almost play detective. Whodunnit is clear. Roddy MacCrae, a seventeen-year-old crofter's son, willingly admits to the murders of three people in his small village in Scotland in 1869. But Why? The largest portion of the novel is the account, given by Roddy, of his grim and meager existence leading up to the murders - and then the actual murders. If there had ever been any light in his life it had been thanks to his mother. But the mother died and the local constable begins harassing the family. Roddy successfully conveys a feeling of utter hopelessness made worse by the local church's stance on "Providence" -- it is all God's will. There are sections on the trial, newspaper coverage, character assessments, and medical reports (including coroners) . A report from an expert on criminal minds might be darkly funny if it weren't so accurate to the times.
A complicated but satisfying novel