Margaret Atwood Alias Grace

ISBN 13: 9780001053618

Alias Grace

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9780001053618: Alias Grace

Years have passed since Grace was locked up, at the age of 16, for the murders of her employer Thomas Kinnear and his housekeeper/lover Nancy Montgomery. Grace claims to have no memory of the murders. Should Dr Simon Jordan, an expert on amnesia, wake the part of Grace's mind which lies dormant?

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Review:

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.

From the Publisher:

In the astonishing new novel by the author of the bestsellers The RobberBride, Cat's Eye, and The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwoodtakes us back in time and into the life and mind of one of the most enigmaticand notorious women of the nineteenth century. Grace Marks has been convictedfor her involvement in the vicious murders of her employer, the wealthy ThomasKinnear, and of Nancy Montgomery, his housekeeper and mistress. Some believeGrace is innocent; others think her evil or insane. Now serving a life sentenceafter a stint in Toronto's lunatic asylum, Grace herself claims to have nomemory of the murders.

Dr. Simon Jordan, an up-and-coming expert in the burgeoning field of mentalillness, is engaged by a group of reformers and spiritualists who seek a pardonfor Grace. He listens to her story, from her family's difficult passage out ofIreland into Canada, to her time as a maid in Thomas Kinnear's household. As hebrings Grace closer and closer to the day she cannot remember, he hears of theturbulent relationship between Kinnear and Nancy Montgomery, and of thealarming behavior of Grace's fellow servant, James McDermott. Jordan is drawnto Grace, but he is also baffled by her. What will he find in attempting tounlock her memories? Is Grace a female fiend, a bloodthirsty femmefatale? Or is she a victim of circumstances?

Alias Grace is a beautifully crafted work of the imagination thatreclaims a profoundly mysterious and disturbing story from the past century.With compassion, an unsentimental lyricism, and her customary narrativevirtuosity, Margaret Atwood mines the often convoluted relationships betweenmen and women, and between the affluent and those without position. The resultis her most captivating, disturbing, and ultimately satisfying work sinceThe Handmaid's Tale--in short, vintage Atwood.

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