Monday, September 27, 2010

Review: Alias Grace

Alias Grace: A Novel

Synopsis from Amazon:
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.

My review:
If you have been reading my blog for any length of time, you know that Margaret Atwood is my favorite author.  The woman is a genius with words.  I started library school two weeks ago and just about everybody I have talked to loves her just as much as I do.  Alias Grace was a very interesting story.  It was quite a bit different from the other Atwood books I have read.  Like most of her books, Alias Grace is very character driven.  Since I am not Canadian, I had not heard of the story of Grace Marks before I read this book.  Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, but it is difficult to do well.  Atwood proves that she can write this genre as well as any other she has tried.  The reader can tell that a great deal of research went into the writing of this book.  I have to say that Alias Grace is one of my favorite books by this author.


  1. I agree Margaret Atwood is a genius and I don't understand why she hasn't won the Nobel Prize yet. Alias Grace is probably my favourite novel by her but then most of her books are just brilliant!

  2. I'd never heard the story either! And had never heard of the book, but I'm adding it to my to-read list. Great review!

  3. I loved this one and love her writing!