Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood MAG

March 24, 2009
By Shamo9 SILVER, Edinburgh, Other
Shamo9 SILVER, Edinburgh, Other
5 articles 0 photos 0 comments

“Sometimes I whisper it over to myself: Murderess. Murderess. It rustles, like a taffeta skirt along the floor.”

Alias Grace, Margaret Atwood’s ninth novel, and perhaps one of her most acclaimed, is both an exquisite glimpse at 19th century society’s ideology and a beautifully written piece of fiction. Shortlisted for the Booker Prize and winner of the Canadian Giller Prize; it was first published in 1996.

Set in Atwood’s homeland of Canada during the mid 19th century, the novel recounts the notorious real-life murders in 1843 of Thomas Kinnear and his housekeeper Nancy Montgomery at the hands of Grace Marks and convicted criminal James McDermott. This brutal crime lives on in infamy and contains no small measure of mystery to this day.

While the story is certainly based on factual events, Atwood masterfully weaves an absorbing narrative, filling in the blanks with meticulous aplomb so it becomes difficult to decipher fact from fiction.

Atwood creates the fictional doctor, Simon Jordon, who is researching the case 14 years later. We, along with Simon, seek the answer to what on the surface appears to be a simple question: Is Grace Marks innocent? But Simon uncovers some uncomfortable truths about himself and the society that he calls home. We are left as unsuspecting voyeurs as Simon’s world, along with his beliefs, begins to unravel through every encounter with the enigma known as Grace Marks.

Atwood goes deeper into her characters than most writers would feel comfortable. She allows us to scrutinize their dreams, hopes, fears, experiences and expectations, yet still retains ambiguity to make the reader question if what they are reading is the truth. Every character is flawed. Every character is human.

The reader isn’t patronized or spoonfed information. It’s an interactive experience. Filled with sex, crime, history, drama, and social propriety, Alias Grace achieves the elusive goal of possessing something for everyone.

This book is as thought-provoking as it is brilliant.

Similar Articles


This article has 1 comment.

on Jun. 24 2009 at 4:49 pm
gkegrace BRONZE, Bowling Green, Ohio
2 articles 0 photos 17 comments
I do like Margaret Atwood, though her similes can get excessive. I mean,"It rustles, like a taffeta skirt along the floor." is like the many similes that are all over Alias Grace. She's creative with words, but sometimes I just get annoyed with just how creative she is.

Parkland Book

Parkland Speaks

Smith Summer