Thursday, February 26, 2009

Alias Grace

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood is a novel based on an actual historical figure. There's a scattering of Methodist references throughout the book, including a Methodist minister who figures prominently in one part.

There's no plot description on this book, but here's something from
In Alias Grace, bestselling author Margaret Atwood has written her most captivating, disturbing, and ultimately satisfying work since The Handmaid's Tale. She takes us back in time and into the life of one of the most enigmatic and notorious women of the nineteenth century.

Grace Marks has been convicted for her involvement in the vicious murders of her employer, Thomas Kinnear, and Nancy Montgomery, his housekeeper and mistress. Some believe Grace is innocent; others think her evil or insane. Now serving a life sentence, Grace claims to have no memory of the murders.

Dr. Simon Jordan, an up-and-coming expert in the burgeoning field of mental illness, is engaged by a group of reformers and spiritualists who seek a pardon for Grace. He listens to her story while bringing her closer and closer to the day she cannot remember. What will he find in attempting to unlock her memories? Is Grace a female fiend? A bloodthirsty femme fatale? Or is she the victim of circumstances?

Every time I read a book by Atwood I remember her ignorant description of science fiction as "talking squids in outer space". [sigh] This book is not science fiction by anyone's definition, but still, I remember her insulting attitude.

The New York Times says,
''Alias Grace'' has the physical heft and weighty authority of a 19th-century novel. In its scope, its moral seriousness, its paradoxically ponderous and engrossing narrative, the book evokes the high Victorian mode, spiced with the spooky plot twists and playfully devious teases of the equally high Gothic -- the literary styles of the period in which the book is set.

Entertainment Weekly calls it "a novel of enormous vitality and ambition, and a time machine of impeccable design."

10/5/2009: Margaret Atwood's talk denigrating science fiction... maybe it's a wise career choice?

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