I love Margaret Atwood. I love her worldview, her imagination, her prose, her honesty and unabashed feminism. The Oryx and Crake trilogy is one of the most imaginative and unique things I think I’ve ever read and finding Alias Grace in the charity shop was a real treat. It’s a chunky piece of work and a real doorstopper of a book, perfect to take your time over.
Alias Grace is based on the true account of a double murder which took place in 19th century Canada, of a gentleman (in the loosest sense of the word) and his mistress, by their two servants, Grace Marks and James Macdermott. James hung for the murders, while Grace was sent to a mental asylum where she spent 17 years, before being disappearing across the border into the States on her release.
In Alias Grace we hear the story from several points of view, as Grace’s narrative gets teased out through flashbacks, conversations with a doctor making a study of her, letters between various other characters and actual court and newspaper recordings from the time. The story unfolds in such a way that even up until the last 10 pages or so had me struggling to make my mind about whether Grace was guilty or not. I won’t spoil it for you, but I think this is a book that I’m going to return to, to see if anything slipped me by and could have maybe swayed me further one way or another.
I’m not really one for historical fiction, as I suppose this would be classed, but I do love Atwood’s writing and got completely sucked into the world of Grace and her acquaintances. Highly recommended.