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Alias Grace - Margaret Atwood


Published: 1st September 1997
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'Sometimes I whisper it over to myself: Murderess. Murderess. It rustles, like a taffeta skirt along the floor.'

Grace Marks. Female fiend. Femme fatale. Or weak and unwilling victim.

Around the true story of one of the most enigmatic and notorious women of the 1840s, Margaret Atwood has created an extraordinarily potent tale of sexuality, cruelty and mystery.

Margaret Atwood's compelling novel is based on the true story of one of Canada's most notorious 19th-century murders. A poor servant girl, Grace Marks, just 16 at the time, was jointly accused of the murder of her master, Thomas Kinnear, and his housekeeper, Nancy Montgomery, who were living in a thinly-disguised common-law marriage. Her co-accused James McDermott, another servant, was widely assumed to be her lover, but their true motive for the killings was endlessly speculated on and never discovered. 'It is not the culprits that need to be forgiven; rather it is the victims, because they are the ones who cause all the trouble.' This is Grace's conclusion. Her dry wit and often biblical turn of phrase sharply flavour this novel, which looks with intelligent amusement and a good historical sense at the clashes of id and superego, the need for order and rationality versus the yearning for drama and mystery. The story unfolds as a kind of detective story. The self-possessed Grace is an enigmatic challenge to the young neurologist who hopes to lift her partial amnesia and make his name. It is to him that she tells her story, which, from her short and wretched Irish-immigrant childhood to her abortive escape from rural Canada with the killer, shows the stays of women's lives pulled tight. Her subsequent long years of reflection have resulted in a deep cynicism combined with the innocence of one who has spent all her adult life locked away. Almost gleefully, Atwood raises awkward questions: What is buried in the cellar? Who is listening at the door? And is the voice speaking through us always our own? In an interesting subtext the excerpts from contemporary newspaper reports introduce each chapter and the treatment Grace Marks received at the hands of the press makes particularly salutary reading in the light of modern tabloid reporting. (Kirkus UK)

Margaret Atwood

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, children’s literature, fiction, and non-fiction and is perhaps best known for her novels, which include The Edible Woman (1970), The Handmaid's Tale (1983), The Robber Bride (1994), Alias Grace (1996), and The Blind Assassin, which won the prestigious Booker Prize in 2000. Atwood's dystopic novel, Oryx and Crake, was published in 2003. The Tent (mini-fictions) and Moral Disorder (short stories) both appeared in 2006. Her most recent volume of poetry, The Door, was published in 2007. Her non-fiction book, Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth ­ in the Massey series, appeared in 2008, and her most recent novel, The Year of the Flood, in the autumn of 2009. Ms. Atwood's work has been published in more than forty languages, including Farsi, Japanese, Turkish, Finnish, Korean, Icelandic and Estonian. In 2004 she co-invented the Long Pen TM.

Margaret Atwood currently lives in Toronto with writer Graeme Gibson.

Associations: Margaret Atwood was President of the Writers' Union of Canada from May 1981 to May 1982, and was President of International P.E.N., Canadian Centre (English Speaking) from 1984-1986. She and Graeme Gibson are the Joint Honourary Presidents of the Rare Bird Society within BirdLife International. Ms. Atwood is also a current Vice-President of PEN International.

Visit Margaret Atwood's Booktopia Author Page

ISBN: 9781860492594
ISBN-10: 1860492592
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 560
Published: 1st September 1997
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 19.3 x 12.1  x 3.5
Weight (kg): 0.4
Edition Number: 1