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Alias Grace

by Margaret Atwood

Other authors: Inger Gjelsvik (Translator)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
10,960240505 (3.94)4 / 1010
'Sometimes I whisper it over to myself: Murderess. Murderess. It rustles, like a taffeta skirt along the floor.'Grace Marks. Female fiend? Femme fatale? Or weak and unwilling victim? Around the true story of one of the most enigmatic and notorious women of the 1840s, Margaret Atwood has created an extraordinarily potent tale of sexuality, cruelty and mystery.Sixteen years have passed since teenaged Grace was locked up for the cold-blooded murder of her employer Thomas Kinnear and his lover, Nancy Montgomery. Saved from the gallows where her alleged accomplice was hanged, Grace claims to have no memory of the events which changed her life for ever.Dr Simon Jordan is an expert in the field of amnesia. His objective is to unlock the dormant part of Grace's mind and discover the truth behind one of the most enigmatic and notorious women of all time.Was Grace an unwitting accessory, or a cold-blooded killer?… (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. 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)
  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
    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!
  6. 41
    Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey (wonderlake)
  7. 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.
  8. 42
    Possession: A Romance by A. S. Byatt (KayCliff)
  9. 20
    The Unseeing by Anna Mazzola (JoEnglish)
  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
    Affinity by Sarah Waters (starbox, souloftherose)
  12. 11
    In a Dark Wood Wandering by Hella S. Haasse (AliceWonders)
  13. 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.
  14. 14
    The French Lieutenant's Woman by John Fowles (Nickelini)
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English (225)  Dutch (4)  French (3)  Swedish (2)  Italian (1)  German (1)  Catalan (1)  Hungarian (1)  Spanish (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (240)
Showing 1-5 of 225 (next | show all)
Alias Grace : A Novel by Margaret Atwood (1997)
  sharibillops | May 20, 2022 |
This is clearly something of an achievement, a very well written, engrossing and thought provoking re-telling of the case of a convicted murderess. The switching of the narrative between different characters and real historical documents works well, but somehow it didn’t click with me as much as I thought it might (and certainly not as much as The Handmaid’s Tale). ( )
  whatmeworry | Apr 9, 2022 |
A doctor planning to open an asylum for the insane comes to interview a notorious 19th century murderess.

I found the first 2/3 of this really difficult to get into and was easily distracted from it. It was only the last third that I found the interest and ability to concentrate necessary to finish it off. I don't know why. ( )
  Robertgreaves | Feb 20, 2022 |
It was a good and interesting story but it took me awhile to really get into it. Glad I pushed through the beginning. ( )
  fellanta13 | Feb 14, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 225 (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
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
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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.
Help is what they offer but gratitude is what they want
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'Sometimes I whisper it over to myself: Murderess. Murderess. It rustles, like a taffeta skirt along the floor.'Grace Marks. Female fiend? Femme fatale? Or weak and unwilling victim? Around the true story of one of the most enigmatic and notorious women of the 1840s, Margaret Atwood has created an extraordinarily potent tale of sexuality, cruelty and mystery.Sixteen years have passed since teenaged Grace was locked up for the cold-blooded murder of her employer Thomas Kinnear and his lover, Nancy Montgomery. Saved from the gallows where her alleged accomplice was hanged, Grace claims to have no memory of the events which changed her life for ever.Dr Simon Jordan is an expert in the field of amnesia. His objective is to unlock the dormant part of Grace's mind and discover the truth behind one of the most enigmatic and notorious women of all time.Was Grace an unwitting accessory, or a cold-blooded killer?

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