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Alias Grace
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New or Used: 5 copies from $13.06
New or Used: 5 copies from $13.06

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The author won the Giller prize for fiction in Canada.

About the Author

Margaret Atwood is Canada's most eminent novelist and poet. She has won many awards including the SUNDAY TIMES Author of the Year Award and she has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize three times.

Reviews

In Atwood's latest, the notorious 19th-century murderess Grace Marks tells her story in a Toronto asylum. (Nov.)

'A sensuous, perplexing book, at once sinister and dignified, grubby and gorgeous, panoramic yet specific...I don't think I have ever been so thrilled...This, surely is as far as a novel can go' Julie Myerson, INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY 'Brilliant...Atwood's prose is searching. So intimate it seems to be written on the skin' Hilary Mantel 'Margaret Atwood is to be congratulated' Anita Brookner, SPECTATOR 'The outstanding novelist of our age' Peter Kemp, SUNDAY TIMES 'Oh brilliant! I cannot rave enough...with its explosive mixture of sex, murder and class conflict, ALIAS GRACE is an absolute winner' Val Hennessey, DAILY MAIL 'One of the best modern novels I've come acrosss...written with such compelling intimacy that at times it is hard not to feel one is reading a memoir written exclusively for oneself.' THE WEEK '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.' AMAZON.CO.UK

Basing her new work on a sensational double murder that occurred in Canada in 1843, poet/novelist Atwood (e.g., The Robber Bride, LJ 10/1/93) has crafted a forceful tale that probes deep into the psychology of accused murderess Grace Marks even as it exposes the social conditions that made such a murder possible. Less caustically feminist than in some previous works but still concerned with the forces that have subjugated women throughout history, Atwood follows Grace from Ireland, which her feckless father is finally forced to depart; through the family's ocean voyage, on which her mother dies; to Canada, where she starts working as a servant at age 12 and befriends Mary Whitney, whose subsequent death from a botched abortion comes, perhaps quite literally, to haunt her. Grace ends up at the Kinnear household, where the master and his housekeeper-mistress are murdered by the stableman McDermott‘supposedly with Grace's help. Grace herself has no recollection of the events, and young American doctor Simon Jordan works ceaselessly to uncover her memories and solve the puzzle of her guilt or innocence. That solution, when it finally arrives, is not wholly satisfying, and attentive readers will have surmised it well beforehand, but Atwood's compelling prose, fine attention to historical detail, and firm guidance of her story make the long trip to the book's end entirely worth the trouble. Highly recommended. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 8/96.]‘Barbara Hoffert, "Library Journal"

YA‘In 1843, at the age of 16, Grace Marks, a recent Irish émigré to Canada, was sentenced to life in prison as an accomplice in the murder of her employer, Thomas Kinnear, and his housekeeper, Nancy Montgomery. The teen confessed to the crime early and later claimed no memory of the events. She was arrested in upstate New York, having run from her employer's house with the handyman, who was hanged for the crimes. Atwood became interested in the case, a true story, and added the involvement of Dr. Simon Jordan. This novel is set 16 years after the crime took place when Jordan, who is interested in the fledgling science of psychology, is recruited by a local Methodist minister intent on proving Grace's innocence to examine her and determine the "truth." Readers are made privy to innumerable details of daily life in that time and place. The concept is intriguing, and while YAs never actually learn the truth, they certainly become involved in Grace's history as well as Simon's bumbling attempts at independence from a domineering mother. Atwood may be playing a game with her readers, but it is one in which many will willingly participate for the fun and mystery while learning about life in colonial Canada. While long, this story reads quickly and all of the characters are compelling, different, and well developed.‘Susan H. Woodcock, Kings Park Library, Burke, VA

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