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Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
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Alias Grace (1996)

by Margaret Atwood

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
8,517179361 (3.93)4 / 871
  1. 100
    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.
  2. 72
    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)
  3. 51
    Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey (wonderlake)
  4. 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!
  5. 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.
  6. 20
    His Bloody Project 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 10
    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)
  9. 00
    The Unseeing by Anna Mazzola (JoEnglish)
  10. 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.
  11. 33
    Possession: A Romance by A. S. Byatt (KayCliff)
  12. 11
    In a Dark Wood Wandering by Hella S. Haasse (AliceWonders)
  13. 23
    The French Lieutenant's Woman by John Fowles (Nickelini)
  14. 01
    Affinity by Sarah Waters (starbox, souloftherose)
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English (169)  French (3)  Dutch (2)  Swedish (1)  Italian (1)  Catalan (1)  Finnish (1)  German (1)  All (179)
Showing 1-5 of 169 (next | show all)
Who is Grace Marks?
- cold-blooded murderess or innocent victim of the circumstances?
- prone to mental diseases and amnesia or a cunning actress?
- an honest, god-fearing, simple lady or a woman overcome by jealousy and rage, leading to murder?

Honestly, at the end of this book, I still don't know - and I feel that this is what Atwood wanted. This book is not building up to a conclusion or -so to speak - a destination. It is about the journey and the many sides to a story (which are not necessarily objective by any means). It is an enjoyable read, and a fantastic historical account - especially of the lower class historic female. ( )
  sonoKoala | May 30, 2017 |
Exceptional historic fiction, Atwood patiently unfurling the story, based loosely on the life of a maidservant convicted of murder. Grace's dismal early life in Ireland and horrid sea passage is rightly portrayed as the keystone to all that comes after. The core scenes are parlor sessions, years after the crimes, between Grace and a young (fictional) American doctor, dabbling in the evolving new science of the mind. His attempts to tease out the facts vs illusions (and elusion) are accompanied by flashbacks and letters to that end. Finely wrought characters enliven the narrative. Don't expect a pat solution to a sordid crime, however. Our young psychologist, as well as the real Grace Marks, both vanish into the mists of history. Atwood's smart, imaginative writing is what holds the reader in place. ( )
  ThoughtPolice | Jan 14, 2017 |
A fascinatingly ambiguous character and beautifully written. ( )
  kale.dyer | Dec 10, 2016 |
Atwood reconstructs one of the most infamous crimes in Canadian history, giving us a twisted and compelling story and a protagonist who is not necessarily trustworthy. Atwood excels at showing us how people see the facts or come to the conclusions that support their own underlying ideas or theories, or that show them to their best advantage. ( )
  Mrs_McGreevy | Nov 17, 2016 |
This was a interesting book and for someone who has read many Atwood novels, it was a testament to the many different styles and voices that Atwood has achieved throughout her career. Once you figure out that she is using a Victorian style in her writing of this novel, it make it more enjoyable. I did find it hard to get through but I did learn a lot about a real event of the 19th century. You really get a chance to see how women were perceived and treated during the 19th century in North America. Grace Marks was real and check her out on the internet before you read the novel. If you have never read Atwood, this would not be the first book that I would read. Try the Madadam trilogy. ( )
  nivramkoorb | Sep 23, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 169 (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
Margaret Atwoodprimary authorall editionscalculated
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.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385490445, Paperback)

In 1843, a 16-year-old Canadian housemaid named Grace Marks was tried for the murder of her employer and his mistress. The sensationalistic trial made headlines throughout the world, and the jury delivered a guilty verdict. Yet opinion remained fiercely divided about Marks--was she a spurned woman who had taken out her rage on two innocent victims, or was she an unwilling victim herself, caught up in a crime she was too young to understand? Such doubts persuaded the judges to commute her sentence to life imprisonment, and Marks spent the next 30 years in an assortment of jails and asylums, where she was often exhibited as a star attraction. In Alias Grace, Margaret Atwood reconstructs Marks's story in fictional form. Her portraits of 19th-century prison and asylum life are chilling in their detail. The author also introduces Dr. Simon Jordan, who listens to the prisoner's tale with a mixture of sympathy and disbelief. In his effort to uncover the truth, Jordan uses the tools of the then rudimentary science of psychology. But the last word belongs to the book's narrator--Grace herself.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:58 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

A fictionalized account of Grace Marks, a maid who murdered her employer and his mistress in Canada in 1843. A stablehand who was her accomplice and who claimed she put him up to it was hung for the crime, while she ended up in a lunatic asylum. The novel analyzes the question: was she actually less guilty, crazy, or smarter?… (more)

» see all 6 descriptions

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