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Alias Grace

by Margaret Atwood

Other authors: Inger Gjelsvik (Translator)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
10,157219499 (3.94)4 / 983
It is 1843, and Grace Marks has been convicted for her involvement in the vicious murders of her employer Thomas Kinnear and Nancy Montgomery, 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. Dr. Simon Jordan, 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? Is Grace a female fiend? A bloodthirsty femme fatale? Or is she the victim of circumstances?… (more)
  1. 102
    Slammerkin by Emma Donoghue (ainsleytewce, BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Based on sensational true crimes of yesteryear, these character-driven historical novels focus on young women whose attempts to escape lives of poverty and abuse lead to violence. Both disturbing, suspenseful books present nuanced psychological portraits of their protagonists.… (more)
  2. 91
    The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber (girlunderglass)
    girlunderglass: Both books share the impressive power of beautifully and believably conveying a particular place and time - they make the reader not only understand and love the peculiarities of a particular era, but also temporarily feel part of it.
  3. 51
    Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey (wonderlake)
  4. 30
    His Bloody Project: Documents Relating to the Case of Roderick Macrae by Graeme Macrae Burnet (cbl_tn)
    cbl_tn: Both are Booker shortlisted novels that tell the story of a historical crime. Atwood's is based on a real crime.
  5. 30
    Burial Rites by Hannah Kent (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: The Polished Hoe portrays conditions in 20th-century Jamaica, while Burial Rites focuses on 19th-century Iceland, but these exquisitely detailed literary historical novels explore the lives of unusually intelligent women whose treatment by their masters has resulted in terrible crimes.… (more)
  6. 30
    The Ballad of Frankie Silver by Sharyn McCrumb (rbtanger)
    rbtanger: Both are historicals about female murderers. And both are equally haunting and mysterious with a good pull at the beginning and a good twist to the end.
  7. 30
    Gillespie and I by Jane Harris (souloftherose)
    souloftherose: It's difficult to explain this recommendation without revealing spoilers for either novel. Both are set in the 19th century, feature strong female narrators and concern a crime - and that's all I can say!
  8. 20
    The Unseeing by Anna Mazzola (JoEnglish)
  9. 42
    Possession: A Romance by A. S. Byatt (KayCliff)
  10. 10
    The Bone Garden by Tess Gerritsen (rbtanger)
    rbtanger: The Bone Garden is set a decade earlier than alias Grace, but the atmosphere and feel of the story are very similar.
  11. 11
    A Spell of Winter by Helen Dunmore (1Owlette)
    1Owlette: Although set at different times and in different countries, both works explore similar themes of isolation, marginalization, and the effect of social pressures upon women's mental states, in haunting, beautiful prose.
  12. 11
    Affinity by Sarah Waters (starbox, souloftherose)
  13. 11
    In a Dark Wood Wandering by Hella S. Haasse (AliceWonders)
  14. 14
    The French Lieutenant's Woman by John Fowles (Nickelini)
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English (206)  French (3)  Dutch (2)  Swedish (2)  Italian (1)  German (1)  Catalan (1)  Finnish (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (218)
Showing 1-5 of 206 (next | show all)
Alias Grace has been the bright spot of my reading the last couple of months. I found I spent the entire novel trying to figure out: Is she guilty or not guilty? If she is guilty, what is she guilty of?

Margaret Atwood does a wonderful job of introducing to Grace, letting you get to know her, and for me, letting me get to like her. What a bright woman, I think, who has gotten no breaks in life but managed to achieve some level of education. If anything, her personal moral code seems to be quite strict. Then "the facts" begin to presented, meaning the facts always come with some doubt. What do I believe or not believe? But I still like Grace and I want her to be innocent.

I have read several of Margaret Atwood's novels. Some have been this good, and some have been more mediocre. I will be remembering Grace for quite some time. ( )
  afkendrick | Oct 24, 2020 |
I enjoyed this mysterious murder story, set in 1800s Canada. I appreciated how this book depicted the roles of women and ways that they found to survive outside of marriage during this time period. I didn't love the passages told in verse or correspondence but that is not the majority of the story and whenever Grace was telling her story it really flew. ( )
  klnbennett | Oct 7, 2020 |
2 1/2 stars. I should have loved this novel. I tend to love Atwood's writing. It has all the hallmarks of an interesting read. Mystery. Murder. Supernatural elements. Yet, it bored me. ( )
  kohrmanmj | Sep 21, 2020 |
Such an interesting book! It is based on a true crime. The author breathes life into people we know only through their crime. Detail about time and place adds so much to the story. I loved the ending. Great story! ( )
  Chrissylou62 | Aug 1, 2020 |
The tools of his trade
guaranteed to crack the case
a range of root veg. ( )
  Eggpants | Jun 25, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 206 (next | show all)
Margaret Atwood has always written her characters from the inside out. She knows them: in their hearts, their bones. For many years now she has been a stylist of sensuous power. In Alias Grace she has surpassed herself, writing with a glittering, singing intensity.
added by jburlinson | editNew York Review of Books, Hilary Mantel (pay site) (Dec 19, 1996)
 

» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Atwood, Margaretprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gjelsvik, IngerTranslatorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Drews, KristiinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pulice, Mario J.Cover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Walitzek, BrigitteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Whatever may have happened through these years, God knows I speak truth, saying that you lie.
—William Morris, "The Defence of Guenevere"
I have no Tribunal.
—Emily Dickinson, Letters
I cannot tell you what the light is, but I can tell you what it is not...What is the motive of the light? What is the light?
Dedication
For Graeme and Jess
First words
Out of the gravel there are peonies growing.
Quotations
When you are in the middle of a story it isn't a story at all, but only a confusion; a dark roaring, a blindness, a wreckage of shattered glass and splintered wood, like a house in a whirlwind, or else a boat crushed by the icebergs or swept over the rapids, and all aboard powerless to stop it. It's only afterwards that it becomes anything like a story at all. When you are telling it, to yourself or to someone else.
It's 1851. I'll be twenty-four years old next birthday. I've been shut up in here since the age of sixteen. I am a model prisoner, and give no trouble.
Gone mad is what they say, and sometimes Run mad, as if mad is a direction, like west; as if mad is a different house you could step into, or a separate country entirely. But when you go mad you don't go any other place, you stay where you are. And somebody else comes in.
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It is 1843, and Grace Marks has been convicted for her involvement in the vicious murders of her employer Thomas Kinnear and Nancy Montgomery, 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. Dr. Simon Jordan, 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? Is Grace a female fiend? A bloodthirsty femme fatale? Or is she the victim of circumstances?

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