A Thread of Violence | Granta

  • Published: 06/07/2023
  • ISBN: 9781783787708
  • Granta Books
  • 304 pages

A Thread of Violence

Mark O'Connell

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?

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

Ed Caesar

Stays with you for weeks. The eerie, tenuous relationship between journalist and killer lives in the legacy of Janet Malcolm and Truman Capote

Caitlin Doughty

The Author

Mark O’Connell is the author of Notes from an Apocalypse: A Personal Journey to the End of the World and Back, as well as To Be A Machine, which won the Wellcome prize, and was shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford prize. He is a journalist, essayist, and literary critic from Dublin.

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From the Same Author

Mark O'Connell on Granta.com

Granta Books Writing | Granta Books

In Conversation

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.