The elegant nested structure is one of the novel’s chief appeals. So is the contrast between Rebecca’s narrative voice...and the cool tone of GMB’s Life of Braithwaite. What emerges is a comedy of identities tried on and discarded. Given the number of suicides that mark the story, it’s a comedy with dark underpinnings ... A diverting novel, overflowing with clever plays on and inversions of tropes of English intellectual and social life during the postwar decades. As such, it is not exactly an excursion into undiscovered literary terrain. Reading Burnet’s doubly mediated metafiction of North London neurotics and decadents, I often longed to turn back to the shelf for the real thing ... It’s a compliment to put Case Study in that company and no insult to say that Burnet must have done his homework to get there.
... another formally inventive offering ... Macrae's novel works on various levels. It is an elaborate, mind-bending guessing game; it is a blackly comic and quietly moving study of a nervous breakdown; and it is a captivating portrait of an egomaniac. If the notebooks depict a gripping chain of events, then the biographical sections expertly flesh out the grotesque, manipulative yet charismatic Braithwaite. Macrae has reliably delivered another work of fiendish fun.
An interest in exploring complex psychological dramas through intricate narrative structures takes centre stage ... The defining essence of Burnet’s work to date is to be found in...literary gamesmanship, a brand of metatextuality that is as much about exploiting the possibilities of the novel form as it is about blurring the boundaries between appearance and reality. In throwing us into doubt about which – and more crucially whose – story we are supposed to be following, Burnet encourages us to look more closely at the inherent instability of fiction itself ... Case Study is above all a very funny book, a wry look back at 60s counterculture in which Burnet’s inventions rub shoulders with real personalities. But much as Braithwaite’s outlandish behaviour and performative rudeness might raise a knowing smile, his theories on identity and selfhood, appearance and reality are never as bonkers as we pretend they are. If Burnet’s aim in writing Case Study was to force us up against the contradictions of our conflicted selves, he has surely succeeded. This is a novel that is entertaining and mindfully engrossing in equal measure.