Alias Grace

534 pages

English language

Published Jan. 9, 1997 by Virago.

ISBN:
9781860492594

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4 stars (3 reviews)

Alias Grace is a novel of historical fiction by Canadian writer Margaret Atwood. First published in 1996 by McClelland & Stewart, it won the Canadian Giller Prize and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. The story fictionalizes the notorious 1843 murders of Thomas Kinnear and his housekeeper Nancy Montgomery in Canada West. Two servants of the Kinnear household, Grace Marks and James McDermott, were convicted of the crime. McDermott was hanged and Marks was sentenced to life imprisonment.Although the novel is based on factual events, Atwood constructs a narrative with a fictional doctor, Simon Jordan, who researches the case. Although ostensibly conducting research into criminal behaviour, he slowly becomes personally involved in the story of Grace Marks and seeks to reconcile his perception of the mild-mannered woman he sees with the murder of which she has been convicted.Atwood first encountered the story of Grace Marks in Life in the Clearings …

47 editions

Intriguing.

5 stars

Perhaps it's my interest in murderers (particularly serial murderers) from a criminological perspective that made me enjoy this novel as much as I did.

Based on a real person, Atwood took the constant double-standards in the presentation of Grace Marks and weaves a tale between the facts. Providing actual quotes from relevant media prior to each part of the book, she shows the ways in which Grace was frequently treated -- not smart enough to have done it, but so incredibly clever in how she pulled it off; a delicate young flower, but grisly and cold. Everyone saw something different, everyone had the same sets of double-standards for her.

I do wish, however, that there would've been more to Jeremiah. I enjoyed that character, even though she discussed how he was immoral in his own way despite being kind. Even though I loathe real-life pseudoscience and the cons who persist …

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Subjects

  • Marks, Grace, -- b. 1826 -- Fiction.