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Alias Grace

Atwood, Margaret

(Book - 1997)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Alias Grace
Print
Takes readers into the life and mind of Grace Marks, one of the most notorious women of the 1840s, who is serving a life sentence for murders she claims she cannot remember.
Publisher: New York, NY : Anchor Books, 1997, c1996
ISBN: 9780385490443
0385490445
Branch Call Number: FICTION ATWOOD
Characteristics: 468 p. :,ill., ports. ;,21 cm

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Takes readers into the life and mind of Grace Marks, one of the most notorious women of the 1840s, who is serving a life sentence for murders she claims she cannot remember.


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“Alias Grace” is about Grace Marks, a young woman who lives in Victorian Toronto. After leaving behind her unfortunate past, Grace goes to work for a man named Mr. Kinnear. Once employed Grace quickly realizes there are tensions between the servants and Mr. Kinnear and his mistress. A stable hand and Grace ultimately end up murdering Kinnear and his mistress. The stable hand is hung, but Grace is simply imprisoned in a mental asylum to spend the rest of her days. Enter Doctor Simon Jordan, a young, blustering psychiatrist from the United States. Dr. Jordan agrees to treat Grace, as she seemingly has become amnesiac towards (and only towards) the murder. As the novel continues, both Grace and Dr. Jordan’s pasts are revealed, and a solution seemingly arises.

This book is, quite unfortunately, extremely uninteresting. It is obvious that a great deal of research was put towards “Alias Grace” but that alone will not satisfy readers. The characters are extremely unlikable, and while they go through symbolic character development, this is simply lost in the sheer dullness of the rest of the novel. The plot of “Alias Grace” is boring and simply drags on for no reason. The novel consistently back tracks and repeats itself, and then promptly throws a ridiculous curveball ending in the final chapters. The ending of “Alias Grace” seems forced and rushed, and does not flow well with the rest of the novel.

“Alias Grace” does have a great deal of symbolism in it, and makes use of many literary devices. However, it is such an incredibly disappointing novel for so many reasons. This novel is suitable for ages fourteen and up due to sexual content.

Jul 23, 2013
  • libraryscientist rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

A very rich, detailed account of a possible murderess. Took awhile to complete, but I just couldn't leave it be.

Jul 03, 2013
  • mogie rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

The book did start of slowly until Grace starts to recount the events of the murder. Atwood's research efforts are very impressive and I enjoyed the explanation in the afterword. Being from Hamilton it was interesting to learn that the Parkinson home was modeled after Dundurn Castle.

Jun 08, 2013
  • Cheri_rishi rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

The book took off slow, but then took on pace when Grace starts recounting the time of the crime. This book is based on true events, and Margaret Atwood's work on it is tremendous. I was disappointed by the way things ended in the book though.

Oct 01, 2011
  • vcc rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Excellent writing by Atwood; her massive research efforts paid off. She presents an unbiased view as story-teller of a (fictionalized) true story. Very poetic.

Apr 29, 2011
  • carol554 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

You will love Grace! But you'll never be sure whether or not she is guilty

Nov 07, 2010
  • bshokal rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Enjoyed this story - had not heard about Grace M and the symbolism with the quilt squares which pieced together the story was ingenious.

May 16, 2010
  • lisahiggs rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

I really like Margaret Atwood, but I sometimes feel that I started by reading her best novel and have been going down the list from there.

While the title character is telling a story that draws in her listener inch by inch as she slowly lets out her yarn, Atwood is doing the same thing with her readers. The narrative jumps between characters and between time frames as Atwood keeps us holding on, waiting for the tangled climax. A climax comes only for Grace; the stories of all the other main characters are ended with an uncomfortable jolt. The unexpected jump into Victorian rape fantasies is a bit jarring as well.

Mar 31, 2010
  • Heenan rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

I love Atwood and the Canadian content, but the story lagged a bit.

Jul 10, 2009
  • doodlebug rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

One of MA's best books.

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A fictional account of the 1843 trial of 16-year-old Canadian housemaid Grace Marks who was found guilty of the murder of her employer and his mistress.

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