Alias Grace

Alias Grace


'Sometimes I whisper to myself: Murderess. Murderess. It rustles like a taffeta skirt along the floor.'

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

Our Review

Alias Grace was a difficult book for me to get into initially, but within a few chapters I was hooked.

Alias Grace tells the real- life story of Grace Marks who was 16 years old when she was arrested for the double murder of her employer and his housekeeper. Arrested alongside her was James McDermott, who was later hanged for the crime. Grace was sent to the asylum and then to prison.

Atwood used historical material for the basis of the book and strayed from it only when the facts were unclear, which they often were because at the time Canadian opinion was divided as to whether she was a murderess or an innocent party.

Atwood examines the nature of the crime, the conflicting reports and Grace’s own life in as thrilling and observant manner as you world expect from her.

One thing I particularly enjoyed was the way Atwood outlined the fact that all those around Grace who were judging her innocent were in fact hypocritical and sinful themselves. Dr Simon Jones in particular was starkly ignorant of his own vices.

Some Quotes

“I’ve been shut up in here since the ago of sixteen. I am a model prisoner and give no trouble.”

“If I am good enough and quiet enough, perhaps after all they will let me go; but it’s not easy being quiet and good, it’s like hanging on to the edge of a bridge when you’re already falling over; you don’t seem to be moving, just dangling there, and yet it is taking all your strength.”

“And the real curse of Eve was having to put up with the nonsense of Adam, who as soon as there was any trouble, blamed it all on her.”

“And since that time I have thought, why is it that women have chosen to sew such flags, and then to lay them on the tops of beds? For they make the bed the most noticeable thing in a room. And then I thought, it’s for a warning. Because you may think a bed is a peaceful thing, Sir, and to you it may mean rest and comfort and a good night’s sleep. But it isn’t so for everyone; and there are many dangerous things that may take place in a bed. It is where we are born, and that is our first peril in life; and it is where the women give birth, which is often their last. And it is where the act takes place between men and women that I will not mention to you, Sir, but I suppose you know what it is; and some call it love, and others despair, or else merely an indignity which they must suffer through. And finally beds are what we sleep in, and where we dream, and often where we die.”

“I think of all the things that have been written about me – that I am an inhuman female demon, that I am an innocent victim of a blackguard forced against my will and in danger of my own life, that I was too ignorant to know how to act and to hang me would be judicial murder, that I am fond of animals, that I am very handsome with a brilliant complexion, that I have blue eyes, that I have green eyes, that I have auburn and also brown hair, that I am tall and also not above the average height, that I am well and decently dressed, that I robbed a dead woman to appear so, that I am brisk and smart about my work, that I am of a sullen disposition with a quarrelsome temper, that I have the appearance of a person rather above my humble station, that I am a good girl with a pliable nature and no harm is told of me, that I am cunning and devious, that I am soft in the head and little better than an idiot. And I wonder how I can be all of these different things at once.”


Why should you read it?

Because Margaret Atwood is an outstanding writer for one.

The real-life case of Grace Marks is such an intriguing story and Atwood has managed to make it even more appealing.

Oh, and Alias Grace has been made into a Netflix series and who are we to argue with Netflix?

Our Final Rating...

Our Rating

  • Currently 5/5

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