Alias Grace

Alias Grace

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In this astonishing tour de force, Margaret Atwood takes the reader back in time and into the life and mind of one of the most enigmatic and notorious women of the nineteenth century. In 1843, at the age of sixteen, servant girl Grace Marks was convicted for her part in the vicious murders of her employer and his mistress. Some believe Grace is innocent; others think her evil or insane. Grace herself claims to have no memory of the murders. As Dr. Simon Jordan - an expert in the burgeoning field of mental illness - tries to unlock her memory, what will he find? Was Grace a femme fatale - or a weak and unwilling victim of circumstances? Taut and compelling, penetrating and wise, Alias Grace is a beautifully crafted work of the imagination that vividly evokes time and place. The novel and its characters will continue to haunt the reader long after the final page.
Publisher: New York :, Nan A. Talese
Copyright Date: ♭1996
ISBN: 9781551994864
Branch Call Number: Online eBook
Characteristics: 1 online resource
text file, rda
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc

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From Library Staff

Set in mid-19th century Southern Ontario, this book fictionalizes the real life murder of a man and his housekeeper by two of his servants. The unreliable narration by Grace, convicted of the crime, keeps you guessing until the end.

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Aug 11, 2017

It’s 1843, and Grace Marks has been convicted for her involvement in the vicious murders of her employer and his housekeeper and mistress. Some believe Grace is innocent; others think her evil or insane. Now serving a life sentence, Grace claims to have no memory of the murders.

An up-and-coming expert in the burgeoning field of mental illness is engaged by a group of reformers and spiritualists who seek a pardon for Grace. He listens to her story while bringing her closer and closer to the day she cannot remember. What will he find in attempting to unlock her memories?


debwalker Aug 09, 2017

Canada 150 fave for MP and Minister of Health Jane Philpott. The CBC version will have its world premiere at TIFF 2017.

debwalker Jul 19, 2017

Trailer out!

Personally excited for this! When it was first published, I attended an event at the Richmond Hill Library and had my copy signed by Lady Margaret herself! (BTW it was at RH because the murder happened just up the road on Yonge Street – back when it was a farm, not a hideous strip mall).

Also something I have in common with our amazing Canadian Minister of Health Jane Phillpott - for Canada 150, she announced it's her favourite book too!

multcolib_susannel Mar 20, 2017

A convicted killer who can't remember her crime and an inexperienced psychiatrist who wants to interview her. He says he just wants to see how her mind works. But is he telling the truth?
Inspired by a real case.

Dec 23, 2016

Tragedy, not drowned by sadness, wish I could be alive (and well versed) like Grace facing her misfortunes. She could be guilty of accessory (or more), which was not my focus since the beginning.

Simon is more intriguing than other (less weighty but no less miserable) male characters. His fate was even worse than jailed Grace.

Jeremiah the peddler maybe the only character that shed positive or uplifting light on the shadow of mystery, but Grace still outshine his intelligence, craft, wit.

I love the plot structure and narrative style, intimate, authentic, mystic, and allegorical. And I was first exposed to the meaning of quilt art in details!

Sep 26, 2016

Not bad, quite a mystery but I found it slow moving at times and it was hard to keep my interest up.

BookReviewer2015 Sep 20, 2016

An interesting novel about a young woman in 1840s Canada and the scandalous murder she commits. One of Atwood's best.

Chapel_Hill_KenMc Dec 22, 2014

Another of Atwood's masterpieces, based on a notorious double murder on the outskirts of Toronto in the mid-nineteenth century. Atwood gives us little in the way of traditional elements of trust in a novel; the protagonist is somewhat suspect, given to strange fantasies and sexual proclivities, and Grace herself is the epitome of the unreliable narrator: she may be a murderer, possibly schizophrenic, or perhaps she really does suffer from amnesia induced by extreme trauma. In either case, she's a very witty and engaging presence throughout.

Nov 29, 2014

“Alias Grace” is about Grace Marks, a young woman who lives in Victorian Toronto. After leaving behind her unfortunate past, Grace goes to work for a man named Mr. Kinnear. Once employed Grace quickly realizes there are tensions between the servants and Mr. Kinnear and his mistress. A stable hand and Grace ultimately end up murdering Kinnear and his mistress. The stable hand is hung, but Grace is simply imprisoned in a mental asylum to spend the rest of her days. Enter Doctor Simon Jordan, a young, blustering psychiatrist from the United States. Dr. Jordan agrees to treat Grace, as she seemingly has become amnesiac towards (and only towards) the murder. As the novel continues, both Grace and Dr. Jordan’s pasts are revealed, and a solution seemingly arises.

This book is, quite unfortunately, extremely uninteresting. It is obvious that a great deal of research was put towards “Alias Grace” but that alone will not satisfy readers. The characters are extremely unlikable, and while they go through symbolic character development, this is simply lost in the sheer dullness of the rest of the novel. The plot of “Alias Grace” is boring and simply drags on for no reason. The novel consistently back tracks and repeats itself, and then promptly throws a ridiculous curveball ending in the final chapters. The ending of “Alias Grace” seems forced and rushed, and does not flow well with the rest of the novel.

“Alias Grace” does have a great deal of symbolism in it, and makes use of many literary devices. However, it is such an incredibly disappointing novel for so many reasons. This novel is suitable for ages fourteen and up due to sexual content.

brianreynolds Aug 11, 2014

Margaret Atwood’s Grace Marks is nothing short of enchanting. Her voice resonates across time and thorough a medium devoid of sound. Alias Grace is a novel seething with energy and anticipation in spite of the quiet and composed voices which narrate it. I am not a fan of historical fiction and yet this work not only honours the genre, it holds so faithfully to the demands of “story” that the degree to which it might be truth or fancy is mute. It stays the course of veracity to life; it breathes; it comes alive on the page. I’m sure those looking for the gossip of a local double-murder (albeit one more than a centenary cold) will not be disappointed. But those looking for revelations of the human heart will be reward even more.

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FavouriteFiction Oct 03, 2009

A fictional account of the 1843 trial of 16-year-old Canadian housemaid Grace Marks who was found guilty of the murder of her employer and his mistress.

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