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Alias Grace

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating details ·  71,740 Ratings  ·  3,905 Reviews
From the number one New York Times best-selling author of The Handmaid's Tale

Soon to be a Netflix Original series, Alias Grace takes listeners into the life of one of the most notorious women of the 19th century.

It's 1843, and Grace Marks has been convicted for her involvement in the vicious murders of her employer and his housekeeper and mistress. Some believe Grace is in
Hardcover, First Edition, 468 pages
Published December 1996 by Doubleday Nan A. Talese (first published September 1996)
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Lindsay J. In both books the female lead is imprisoned. In this sense they are similar. However, Alias Grace is first imprisoned by the limitations of choice,…moreIn both books the female lead is imprisoned. In this sense they are similar. However, Alias Grace is first imprisoned by the limitations of choice, then actually imprisoned behind steel bars.
The Handmaid's Tale is a dystopian story and Alias Grace is written in the form of a memoir/historical story since it is based on true events.

Community Reviews

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Jeffrey Keeten
Nov 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Jeffrey by: B the BookAddict
”All the same, Murderess is a strong word to have attached to you. It has a smell to it, that word---musky and oppressive, like dead flowers in a vase. Sometimes at night I whisper it over to myself: Murderess, Murderess. It rustles, like a taffeta skirt across the floor.”

 photo grace-marks-1_zpsjunk3lu3.jpg
Sketches made of Grace Marks and James McDermott during their sensationalized trial.

Grace Marks, at the age of 16 in 1843, was arrested along with James McDermott for the murders of their employer, Thomas Kinnear, and his mist
Sometimes I whisper it over to myself: Murderess, Murderess. It rustles, like a taffeta skirt along the floor...

Highlight of 2017 for me!
A pure gem. That is Alias Grace, for me. Another grand work of Margaret Atwood. Atwood, described as ‘one of the most brilliant and unpredictable novelists alive’ (Literary Review)……and also: ‘A witty, elegant, generous and patient writer.’ I would say a strong-minded, self-willed, wayward writer, sometimes also dark and ruthless. This story keeps you hooked f

Working with patches. Patchwork. Putting together various pieces of material that already existed and joining them into a new design.

This is the theme that Margaret Atwood has developed through her novel, and I am not making this up for the sake of my review. Her concluding paragraphs, spoken by her heroine, are about the patched Tree of Paradise.

The Tree itself is of triangles, in two colours, dark for the leaves and a lighter colour for the fruits; I am using purple for the leaves and red for
Margaret Atwood occupies a strange nook in my heart. She's become a bit of a chore lately, as I'm including her in my senior honors thesis; on the other hand, I've now read almost all of her novels, and while none are bad or even...not really good. Just that because a few of the novels shine so brightly, that the others seem duller in comparison.

Well, Alias Grace is a supernova. It's an absolutely phenomenal novel, and a truly thrilling read. It's a departure for Atwood, as it's historical ficti
May 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I keep kicking myself for having ditched the Atwood Speaking Gala at A.W.P. in Chicago this year. The fierce literati kept the attendance so high that it was virtually as if Lady Gaga herself were to give a lecture on her impressive work. I was more interested in walking all around Chitown, anyway, but I really (semi)regret not having nabbed a coveted seat. She was probably amazing: uberclever & brilliant.

Without two minor (teeny) infractions, “Alias Grace” is pretty much a well-rounded, tot
“The true character of the historical Grace Marks remains an enigma.”

“I have of course fictionalized historical events (as did many commentators on this case who claimed to be writing history). I have not changed any known facts, although the written accounts are so contradictory that few facts emerge as unequivocally ‘known.’”

So says celebrated author, Margaret Atwood, about Grace Marks of whom she wrote this fictional account. And indeed Grace remains an enigma throughout the novel. As other
Dec 21, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1001, booker, 2011
I felt about Alias Grace the same way I did about probably half of Atwood's novels I've read so far - I just didn't fully get it.

Nobody conveys Life ain't easy for a woman message as well as Atwood. Past, present, future - the living is rough for women. It is particularly unpleasant for Grace Marks, a young servant girl in mid-19th century Canada, accused of murdering her employer and his housekeeper with the help of her co-worker and alleged paramour, and who is locked up first in an insane as
Nov 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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."

This powerful passage is from Margaret Atwood's 1996 novel Alias Grace. She dev
Paul Bryant
Jun 24, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At the very heart of certain narratives is a lacuna, to which the reader is drawn ineluctibly, as the centre of a whirlpool of meanings. It may indicate something essentially unknowable, ineffable - the lacuna in the Old Testament is when God tells Moses I AM THAT I AM, which lets us know in no uncertain terms that this thing is not of logic or language, whatever it may be; the lacuna of the New Testament is Christ's three days in the tomb - we are not told anything about that, it is unknowable. ...more
Magrat Ajostiernos
May 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
¡Primera lectura de Atwood y primer acierto! :)
Alias Grace es una historia sórdida y cruel, muy bien documentada y que resulta apasionante aún en el relato de los sucesos más sencillos... hay dos cosas que me han sorprendido especialmente, el toque sobrenatural y la ambigüedad del relato y los personajes.
Obviamente, seguiré con Margaret Atwood :)
This is an extraordinary reconstruction of the life of Grace Marks, a domestic servant who was convicted of the double murder of her employers in Canada in the 1840s. In framing the story around her interviews with a young doctor interested in making his name by proving her innocence, Atwood is able to avoid committing herself on the degree of Grace's guilt and complicity while exploring a range of wider social issues.

The doctor's troubled relationship with his deserted landlady is interwoven a
Oct 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book is a gem. A work of fiction, but based on actual historical events, Alias Grace is the story of the convicted murderess, Grace Marks. Sixteen year old Grace and fellow servant James McDermott are said to have brutally murdered their employer, Thomas Kinnear and his housekeeper and supposed mistress, Nancy Montgomery, in Canada during the 1840’s. However, Grace claimed to have no memory of her own culpability in these murders. Both were found guilty; James McDermott was condemned to dea ...more
Nov 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another excellent novel from the pen of Margaret Atwood – this is her masterly, fictionalised retelling of the life of Grace Marks and the part that she allegedly may or may not have played in the murders of Thomas Kinnear and Nancy Montgomery.

The story takes place in the early to mid-19th Century and is written for the most part around Grace Marks supposed retelling of her life story to the fictional Dr Simon Jordan – events unfolds to the reader as they are told to Dr Jordan. This includes Gra
Gorkem Y
Nov 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Virtuöz Atwood

Bir kez daha şunu anladım ki Atwood, yazım dili, zekası, karakterlerinin iç dünyasını aktarımı, olayları çok katmanlılığı şekilde bölebilme yeteneği, sizi karakterin beynine yönlendirebilmesi ve kendi zekasını yazdığı her diyalog içinde kararlı şekilde devam ettirebilmesi..vs açısından günümüzdeki en etkili kadın yazarlarından birisi. Nam-ı Diğer Grace'de bunların hepsinin bir anda olması okur açısından müthiş lezzetli bir okuma deneyimi yaşatıyor.

Yaşanmış bir olayın yeniden inşa
Doug Bradshaw
Aug 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
**Minor Spoilers**

This book is as close to time travel and walking in the shoes of another person as it gets, perfect historical fiction based on a fascinating actual case of a 15 year old girl thrown into prison for a double homicide. Most of the story comes in from two perspectives, Grace Marks herself telling her story to a young MD/psychologist working to see if he can get her released from prison, and then from the young physician himself listening to her story, never sure he can truly trus
Mar 21, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: murder mystery fans
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: 1001 books list
The Handmaid's Tale and the Blind Assassin were my previous Atwood reads and while I understand her alpha-author status in Canada and international reputation, her works just do not quite blow my mind enough to turn me into an obsessive Atwood completist. Before I decided to read Alias Grace it had been on my shelf for three years gathered enough dust to sculpt a dust bunny the size of an actual rabbit. I feel the same about A.S Byatt... no reason, no discernible malaise directed at these two la ...more
Nov 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, canada
"Sometimes at night I whisper it over to myself: Murderess, Murderess. It rustles, like a taffeta skirt across the floor.
Murderer is merely brutal. It’s like a hammer, or a lump of metal. I would rather be a murderess than a murderer, if those are the only choices."

Alias Grace is Margaret Atwood's record of Grace Marks, who convicted of murder, spent thirty years in prison and a mental institution before being pardoned.

The book is based on true events of one of Ontario's most ambiguous cases - t
Jun 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Alias Grace, although a work of fiction, is based on one of Canada's most infamous murder cases. In Toronto, in 1843 16-year-old Grace Marks and fellow servant, James McDermott were accused of murdering their employer, Thomas Kinnear and his housekeeper and mistress, Nancy Montgomery. Both were sentenced to death and McDermott was hanged. However, Grace's lawyer was able to get her sentence commuted to life imprisonment by arguing her youth, her gender, and, according to him, her feeble-mindedne ...more
Nov 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jane Eyre meets Runa.

Eine mysteriöse historische Figur namens grace Marks wird hier in einer fiktiven Geschichte aufgearbeitet unter Berücksichtigung der widersprüchlichen Umstände zu ihrer Beteiligung an einem Doppelmord ihrer Arbeitgeber.

Die einzigen Kritikpunkte die ich habe sind, das es etwas zu lang war, da in der Mitte etwas zügiger hätte erzählt werden können und Schlussfolgerungen aus ihren Erzählungen und so, wie sie sich Dinge erklärt, zu einfach strukturiert sind für ihre würdevolle
Leave it to Margaret Atwood to turn a real-crime novel into a conversation about gender and class! I have to say, I never really know what I am getting into with an Atwood novel: she always goes somewhere unexpected, thought-provoking and cleverly multi-layered.

Grace Marks was accused - along with stable-hand James McDermott - of murdering her employer and his house-keeper, but her death sentence was commuted to a lifetime imprisonment. Every official version of her story seem to contradict each
Feb 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-books
Audiobook performed by Sarah Gadon and an afterword by Margaret Atwood 15h 57m.

I definitely enjoyed this more than Handmaid's Tale. Imagine! I wish Netflix Canada would air the series for us Canucks that choose Netflix as our only television option. Because now that I have read/listened to the story, I am excited to see it all play out onscreen.

The tale of Irish servant Grace Marks is not one that I had ever heard about. It isn't one that we find lingering in our history books,but Atwood mak
Alias Grace, Margaret Atwood's ninth novel is a work of historical fiction, although based on a true historical event - the story of Grace Marks, a Canadian housemaid who was convicted of murdering her employer Thomas Kinnear, and suspected of murdering his housekeeper, Nancy Montgomery on July 23, 1840. The murder has been extensively reported in Canadian, American and British newspapers. It has sparked quite a controversy: Nancy was Kinnear's mistress who has before given birth to an illegitim ...more
Libros Prestados
Una historia que trata sobre la culpabilidad, la memoria (¿puede alguien sentirse culpable por lo que no recuerda?), las diferencias sociales, el sistema penitenciario (por llamarlo de alguna manera), los conocimientos sobre enfermedades mentales y la posición de la mujer en el siglo XIX.

Es como si Margaret Atwood hubiera partido de "El cuento de la criada" (la narración subjetiva de una mujer prisionera sin posibilidad de salir) y hubiera profundizado para contarnos los pormenores de una socied
Feb 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: canadian
It really happened. In 1843, in a remote Canadian farmhouse, James McDermott killed his employer, Thomas Kinnear, and Kinnear's housekeeper and mistress, Nancy Montgomery. The two open questions were: 1) was the 15 year-old servant Gracie Marks the paramour of McDermott; and 2) was Grace involved in the murder?

Oh, people wanted to believe the worst. McDermott and Marks were found in flight across the border in the States. There wasn't much of a trial. McDermott was easily convicted and would han
The novel alternates in point of view between a young woman, the Grace of the title, in prison for a murder that she may or may not have committed and a young Doctor who becomes engaged in her case.

The story flickers between 1840s Canada (view spoiler) and the build up to the crime and the late 1850s when the novel is set.

The political background slowly comes to light as part of the complexity
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Muy buen libro, y es que Margaret Atwood escribe de maravilla, da gusto leer sus historias.

Me ha gustado mucho como está desarrollado el libro, en el que partiendo de un hecho real la autora va construyendo la trama pausada y lentamente, sin aburrir en ningún momento y desarrollando unos personajes maravillosos. Sobre todo el personaje de Grace, tan ambiguo, que hay momentos en los que sientes pena por ella, en otros piensas que está como una cabra y en otros te convences de que es una manipulad
Nov 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After so much YA, I had forgotten that trance you get after finishing a really good, complex book, when your mind just whirls all you have read over and over for an hour after finishing, connecting the many, expertly guised threads.
Feb 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Muy buen libro.
La historia es sencilla pero la forma en que se narra y los diferentes personajes que intervienen lo convierten en un libro entretenido y emocionante.
Con un ritmo pausado y poético y con unos cambios en el punto de vista de la narración que al principio descolocan un poco nos va desgranando la historia de Grace Marks al mismo tiempo que nos describe la sociedad del siglo XIX, con sus clasismos, supersticiones e imposturas.
Los personajes secundarios que rodean la historia se vuelve
Jan 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Mira que lo único bonito de los últimos siete días ha sido leer este libro y conocer la historia de Grace Marks.
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Catching up on Cl...: Alias Grace - NO spoilers 29 122 Feb 08, 2018 01:07AM  
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Play Book Tag: Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood 2 16 Dec 27, 2017 04:45AM  
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Margaret Atwood was born in 1939 in Ottawa and grew up in northern Ontario, Quebec, and Toronto. She received her undergraduate degree from Victoria College at the University of Toronto and her master's degree from Radcliffe College.

Throughout her writing career, Margaret Atwood has received numerous awards and honourary degrees. She is the author of more than thirty-five volumes of poetry, childr
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“If we were all on trial for our thoughts, we would all be hanged.” 315 likes
Gone mad is what they say, and sometimes Run mad, as if mad is a different 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.” 309 likes
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