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Alias Grace
Alias Grace
Author: Margaret Atwood
In Alias Grace, bestselling author Margaret Atwood has written her most captivating, disturbing, and ultimately satisfying work since The Handmaid's Tale. She takes us back in time and into the life of one of the most enigmatic and notorious women of the nineteenth century. — Grace Marks has been convicted for her involvement in the vicious m...  more »
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ISBN-13: 9780385490443
ISBN-10: 0385490445
Publication Date: 10/13/1997
Pages: 480
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.

3.8 stars, based on 261 ratings
Publisher: Anchor
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio CD
Members Wishing: 2
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

Leigh avatar reviewed Alias Grace on + 378 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 18
Without the mesmerizing plot of _The Handmaid's Tale_, this novel is a bit more difficult to get into. However, once you're introduced to the character, see how she presents herself, and then hear of her heinous crime, you'll want to read more.

Atwood made me question the strategy of victimhood throughout this novel: If you *are* guilty, do you keep quiet and play the victim of wrong place/wrong time? If you're not, do you remain silent for the same reason?

I felt unsatisfied with the ending, but you'll have to read it to judge for yourself. After all, there is a whole lot of judging going on in this novel. Recommended for a literary novel fan with a strong stomach.
reviewed Alias Grace on + 149 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
Absolutely compelling psychological/crime drama based on a true story that happened in Canada in the mid 1800's. A woman is accused of murder and sentenced to life in prison. She claims that she can't remember the crime. A young psychology student begins interviewing her to try to get to the truth and she tells the story of her life. Grace is such a likeable character that you can't help but feel empathy for her plight and I found myself skipping ahead a few pages because I wanted to know what was going to happen next so badly. It's really a fantastic book for crime fans or history fans.
Spuddie avatar reviewed Alias Grace on + 412 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
Reworking and fictionalization of a real historical event/person, about Grace Marks, an Irish immigrant maid who was convicted along with a male servant in the same household of killing her master and the housekeeper, who was also the master's paramour. This took place near Toronto, Canada in the mid-1800's. Partly told about Grace, partly told about a psychiatrist interviewing Grace extensively many years after the fact. Interesting story, but I found it quite draggy and drawn-out in some places and found myself muttering, âget ON with it, already!â many times. Yet the story itself was interesting enough to keep me reading, and I'm not sorry I finished it.
reviewed Alias Grace on + 34 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
If you have not had the pleasure of reading Atwood, you should do so immediately. This book was quite good, interesting historical elements, really interesting characters and plot. I am re-reading Atwood's other books now because I remember how much I enjoyed most of them the first time around.
lectio avatar reviewed Alias Grace on + 88 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
While Im not all that familiar with Canadian writers, if Alias Grace is any indication of what Ive been missing by not reading more of Margaret Atwood, then I fully intend to go back for more. This novel had a lot going for it to begin with Atwood is obviously a talented writer with a knack for telling a compelling story. At the same time she expects the reader to do a fair share of the work as well. In this case were introduced early on to the fact that a terrible crime has been committed, but were not so sure that the woman who has been convicted of it really is guilty. Or (and here things get even more interesting) if she is guilty, was she really aware of what she was doing? Was she an unwilling partner in a crime she didnt want to commit but was forced to assist with in order to save her own life? Her story unfolds layer by layer and along the way we meet a cast of intriguing characters each of whom play an important part in helping us learn more about Grace and why she was imprisoned. Especially noteworthy is the character of Dr. Simon Jordon, a young doctor whose initial interest in Grace stems from his interest in new methods of treating persons with mental illness. Even though the novel was based on events that actually took place (there really was a Grace Marks who was tried for the murder of Thomas Kinnear and Nancy Montgomery in 1843, sentenced to prison, ended up in the lunatic asylum for a while and was eventually granted a pardon) what I enjoyed the most about the book had to do with the way Atwood developed the plot through the eyes of the characters and the relationships they had with one another.
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jwigg avatar reviewed Alias Grace on + 39 more book reviews
I love Margaret Atwood and this novel is part of what made me one of her biggest fans! This is a mystery within a mystery... It's always about layers with an Atwood novel. Great read!!
kdcperez07 avatar reviewed Alias Grace on
I couldn't even get into this book. After the few few pages, I gave up.
areadingwoman avatar reviewed Alias Grace on + 30 more book reviews
This is very different from other Atwood books I've read. It's a historical mystery rather than a future world. There are some interesting points made about a woman's situation if they were working-class in the late 1800s, but while the plot was entertaining, the basis of it was not. At the end, I felt letdown by an Atwood book for the first time.
perryfran avatar reviewed Alias Grace on + 1174 more book reviews
ALIAS GRACE is a work of historical fiction based on the true story of Grace Marks who was a servant girl accused of murder and was one of Canada's most notorious female criminals. She was "involved in the 1843 murder of her Richmond Hill, Ontario, employer Thomas Kinnear and his housekeeper, Nancy Montgomery. Her conviction for the murder of Kinnear was controversial and sparked much debate about whether Marks was actually instrumental in the murder or merely an unwitting accessory." Atwood provides a very vivid account of Grace and her life which is told mainly in Grace's own words from her childhood in Ireland through life as a servant in colonial Victorian Canada and then to the murder of her employer at the age of sixteen. Most of the story is told by Grace through Dr. Simon Jordan, a mental illness specialist who is hired by a group of reformers and spiritualists that are seeking a pardon for Grace. Dr. Jordan becomes enamored with Grace and eventually learns the relationship between her and her employer, his housekeeper, Nancy, and the servant James McDermott who was hanged for the murders. But who is telling the truth? Was Grace an accomplice in the murders? Did she have a hand in planning them? Or was she merely a young girl who went along with McDermott's plan out of fear for her own life?

Atwood uses themes of social and feminist comment in the novel and explores the relationships between sex and violence in a repressed society. She also reflects on the time-period's ambiguity about the nature of women and whether Grace must have been forced into an act of violence or was she inherently evil. This is the first novel by Atwood that I have read and I thought it was very well-written and fast-paced and I would highly recommend it. I'm sure I will be reading more of her works including THE HANDMAID'S TALE that I have on my TBR stacks.
reviewed Alias Grace on + 3 more book reviews
I loved this book! It was written with twists and turns like the great classic Victorian novels -- except more accessible in language. I loved the protagonist/narrator Grace. Very witty, sassy, wise.
reviewed Alias Grace on + 6 more book reviews
An intriguing read from a great writer
reviewed Alias Grace on + 24 more book reviews
atwood is always interesting and revelaing in unique ways (about the character and yourself)

Book Wiki

Grace Marks (Primary Character)
Dr Simon Jordan (Primary Character)
Jamie Walsh (Major Character)
McDermott (Major Character)
Nancy Montgomer (Major Character)
(Show all 7 People/Characters)