- Published: 06/07/2023
- ISBN: 9781783787708
- Granta Books
- 304 pages
A Thread of Violence
In 1982 Malcolm Macarthur, the wealthy heir to a small estate, found himself suddenly without money. The solution, he decided, was to rob a bank. To do this, he would need a gun and a car. In the process of procuring them, he killed two people, and the circumstances of his eventual arrest in the apartment of Ireland’s Attorney General nearly brought down the government. The case remains one of the most shocking in Ireland’s history.
Mark O’Connell has long been haunted by the story of this brutal double murder. But in recent years this haunting has become mutual. When O’Connell sets out to unravel the mysteries still surrounding these horrific and inexplicable crimes, he tracks down Macarthur himself, now an elderly man living out his days in Dublin and reluctant to talk.
As the two men circle one another, O’Connell is pushed into a confrontation with his own narrative: what does it mean to write about a murderer?
In the gallery of criminals who have fascinated writers, the elegant Malcolm Macarthur is one of the most enigmatic. And in the pantheon of writers fascinated by criminals, Mark O'Connell proves himself among the most brilliant. It is one of the boundaries that cut humanity in two: those who have killed someone, those who have not. O'Connell roams around this boundary, in this grey area, from which he has brought a fascinating narrative
Emmanuel Carrère, author of The Adversary
Like all great books, A Thread of Violence is the document of a great writer's obsession. Mark O'Connell draws the reader into a deeply engrossing story, and at the same time into a complex investigation of human brutality and of narrative writing itself. This is a superb and unforgettable book
A masterful, haunting book by an author at the height of his powers. Mark O'Connell asks us how much we can ever understand about the darkness that resides in other people, and in ourselves
From the Same Author
To Be a Machine
Mark O'Connell on Granta.com
Granta Books Writing | Granta Books
Jenny Offill & Mark O'Connell
‘This isn’t the end of the world. It’s history going about its business. This isn’t the last apocalypse by a long shot.’
Jenny Offill, author of Weather, talks to Mark O’Connell, author of Notes from the Apocalypse.