The Minister and the Murderer | Granta

  • Published: 01/11/2018
  • ISBN: 9781847089236
  • 129x20mm
  • 352 pages

The Minister and the Murderer

Stuart Kelly

In1969,JamesNelsonconfessedtomurder,servedaprisonsentence,thenappliedtobeordainedasaminsterintheScottishChurch(TheKirk).Thecasesplitthechurchintwo,andchallengedtheinstitutiontoconsideritsmostbasicfunctions,obligationsandduties.PartoftheproblemwasthatJamesNelson’scrimewasnoordinarycrime.Thebiblehasalottosayaboutmurder,butnotaboutthisparticularvarietyofmurder.StuartKellyusesthecaseofNelsontowriteacompellinghistoryofthechurchinScotland,ofbiblicalandliteraryaccountsofforgivenessandsin.TheMinisterandTheMurdererisagrippingpieceofliterarydetectiveworkweavingtextualanalysiswithmemoirandnarrativenon-fiction.Thisisabookofsoul-searchingandspeculation,deepthinkingandfinewriting.Itisaknotty,rivetingandmind-expandinginvestigationoftruthandfaith.

The Minister and The Murderer is wickedly, reverently good. Stuart Kelly explores the fascinating case of James Nelson, a convicted murderer who sought to be ordained, with polymathic intelligence, empathy, and wit. His ingeniously prismatic and allusive approach - part history, part homily, part Biblical exegesis, and part confession - touches every field of the humanities; it is also enormous fun to read, unfolding almost like a postmodern thriller. I loved it

Eleanor Catton

A colossal achievement. This is one of the most moving and profound books I have read in a long time

Richard Holloway

Part true crime, part Theology of Despair, The Minister and the Murderer explores the hard borders of faith in the real world. A beautiful, deeply thought-provoking exploration of the history and purpose of faith

Denise Mina

The Author

Stuart Kelly is a Scottish critic and author. His works include The Book Of Lost Books: An Incomplete Guide To All The Books You’ll Never Read and Scott-Land: The Man Who Invented A Nation, which was longlisted for the Samuel Johnson. Literary editor of the Scotsman,Kelly also writes for Scotland on Sunday, the Guardian and The Times. IIn 2014 he was a judge for the Man Booker Prize.

More about the author →

Stuart Kelly on Granta.com

Essays & Memoir | The Online Edition

The Bible As Literature, Literature As Scripture

Stuart Kelly

'Literature and literary criticism took me away from the Church as a teenager, and literature and literary criticism brought me back to it later.'

Essays & Memoir | Granta 123

Remembering Iain M Banks

Stuart Kelly

Stuart Kelly remembers Iain Banks, and assesses the influence he's had on this generation of writers.