Alias Grace

Alias Grace

Audiobook(Cassette - Abridged, 4 Cassettes)

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Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood, Elizabeth McGovern

In the astonishing new novel by the author of the bestsellers The Robber Bride, Cat's Eye, and The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood takes us back in time and into the life and mind 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, the wealthy Thomas Kinnear, and of Nancy Montgomery, his housekeeper and mistress. Some believe Grace is innocent; others think her evil or insane. Now serving a life sentence after a stint in Toronto's lunatic asylum, Grace herself 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, from her family's difficult passage out of Ireland into Canada, to her time as a maid in Thomas Kinnear's household. As he brings Grace closer and closer to the day she cannot remember, he hears of the turbulent relationship between Kinnear and Nancy Montgomery, and of the alarming behavior of Grace's fellow servant, James McDermott. Jordan is drawn to Grace, but he is also baffled by her. What will he find in attempting to unlock her memories? Is Grace a female fiend, a bloodthirsty femme fatale? Or is she a victim of circumstances?

Alias Grace is a beautifully crafted work of the imagination that reclaims a profoundly mysterious and disturbing story from the past century. With compassion, an unsentimental lyricism, and her customary narrative virtuosity, Margaret Atwood mines the often convoluted relationships between men and women,and between the affluent and those without position. The result is her most captivating, disturbing, and ultimately satisfying work since The Handmaid's Tale--in short, vintage Atwood.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780553477726
Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/28/1996
Edition description: Abridged, 4 Cassettes
Product dimensions: 4.14(w) x 7.10(h) x 1.21(d)

About the Author

Margaret Atwood was born in Ottawa in 1939, and grew up in northern Quebec and Ontario, and later in Toronto. She has lived in numerous cities in Canada, the U.S., and Europe.

She is the author of more than forty books — novels, short stories, poetry, literary criticism, social history, and books for children. Atwood’s work is acclaimed internationally and has been published around the world. Her novels include The Handmaid’s Tale and Cat’s Eye — both shortlisted for the Booker Prize; The Robber Bride, winner of the Trillium Book Award and a finalist for the Governor General’s Award; Alias Grace, winner of the prestigious Giller Prize in Canada and the Premio Mondello in Italy, and a finalist for the Governor General’s Award, the Booker Prize, the Orange Prize, and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award; The Blind Assassin, winner of the Booker Prize and a finalist for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award; and Oryx and Crake, a finalist for The Giller Prize, the Governor General’s Award, the Orange Prize, and the Man Booker Prize. Her most recent books of fiction are The Penelopiad, The Tent, and Moral Disorder. She is the recipient of numerous honours, such as The Sunday Times Award for Literary Excellence in the U.K., the National Arts Club Medal of Honor for Literature in the U.S., Le Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France, and she was the first winner of the London Literary Prize. She has received honorary degrees from universities across Canada, and one from Oxford University in England.

Margaret Atwood lives in Toronto with novelist Graeme Gibson.


Toronto, Ontario

Date of Birth:

November 18, 1939

Place of Birth:

Ottawa, Ontario


B.A., University of Toronto, 1961; M.A. Radcliffe, 1962; Ph.D., Harvard University, 1967

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Alias Grace 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 51 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read a review, maybe on the cover, that claimed this was written like a classic with the pace of a modern novel. That is exactly how I felt about this book. The writing was incredible. I felt completely sucked into that time period as I read. One thing that did help me anticipate the ending was that I read the Afterward before reading book. I really think it helped me not go overboard with all the possible ways it could end, and I was very satisfied with how Atwood chose to end the story. The pacing was a little slow at first, but once Grace began telling her story I could not put it down.
TheCrowdedLeaf More than 1 year ago
The beauty of Alias Grace lies not within the plot, which is mysterious and based on a true story, nor within the voices of the characters, but within the artistry that Atwood has demonstrated as the true craft of a writer. The ability to take a story and turn it into something more, create a world based on ours, where the characters step from the page. Atwood based Alias Grace on a true story. The celebrated murderess, young Grace Marks, was a real person in Canada in 1843. She was arrested, along with a man named James McDermott, accused of murdering their employer, Thomas Kinnear, and his pregnant housekeeper-mistress Nancy Montgomery. Grace told three different versions of the murder throughout the trial and was sentenced to life in prison, while McDermott hung. In the novel, Doctor Simon Jordan makes it his mission to lead Grace through her life leading up the day of the murders. The question remains: was Grace telling the truth in any of her questionable versions? Did she knowingly participate in the deaths of two innocents and one unborn child? Why can't she seem to remember the events, but remember dressing in the dead woman's clothing and escaping to the States? Margaret Atwood's novel is based on historical documentation and news articles which are prevalent throughout the book and serve to ground the novel, but they also uplift the story into a living tale. No one knew for certain if Grace was an innocent bystander, or a devilish accomplice. Petitions for her release are routinely submitted and rejected. The power of this novel is that I want Atwood's version to be the real thing, but that means I question Grace's motives; is she really as naive as she seems? I am still not sure what I want of her. I want her to be innocent, but I want her to be guilty. I want her to escape with Jeremiah the Peddler, but live happily ever after with a husband and normal life. I want Mary Whitney to live, but I want her to have never lived. Alias Grace is a dark, intriguing, and haunting mystery which stays with us after the last page and for that I must give it 5 stars. I encourage you to read it, and formulate your own thoughts on Grace Marks.
Booster_Seat More than 1 year ago
Margaret Atwood's stunning, attention stealing novel is a story of suspense. I found myself unable to put it down once I began reading. The novel's contents that I found myself imagining all seemed very realistic to me. So overall I believe Alias Grace is a wonderful story, also a fictional re-telling of a murder case from Canada in the 1800's. The story began 8 years into Grace's imprisonment with a story she told her doctor drawing me in. Why was she locked away, I kept asking myself as I read, and at the age of sixteen? What could someone so young have done? Throughout the book, Atwood, from Grace's view speaking to her doctor, Dr. Jordan, tells us Grace's story. Grace chooses to tell the most important events of her life from her earliest memories leading up to the predicament she seems to have no remembrance of, the murder of her employer, Thomas Kinnear, and Nancy Montgomery, his house keeper and mistress. Dr. Jordan hopes that talking to her about the events leading up to the murder that she'll remember and everyone will finally know if she's innocent or guilty. After finding that the talking didn't help decipher Grace's innocence Dr. Jordan decides to let another form of doctor, Dr. Dupont, hypnotize Grace to ask her questions and finally find whether she is innocent or not. Throughout this book the main theme I seen was sex. Mary Whitney, a good friend of Grace's, became pregnant and the father denied it and threw her some money. She had a type of an "abortion" and died the day after. Nancy and Thomas were suspected of sex also because Nancy was found to be pregnant after her death. Mrs. Humphrey, Dr. Jordan's landlady, becomes his mistress, and they seem to have a sexual connection only at night when he returns from his long days. On Grace's birthday, Grace and Jamie Walsh spent time together in the orchard, on Thomas Kinnear's land, and when Grace returned she was accused by McDermott of having sex. Then, in one of McDermott's confessions it is said that Grace promised sex for his help in the murders. Margaret Atwood described things well and used a great amount of poetic devices. One of my favorite descriptions was of Thomas Kinnear's when Grace was first arriving she says, "At last we were going past his orchard and up his driveway, which was curved and about a hundred yards long, and ran between two lines of maple trees of medium size. There was the house at the end of the drive, with a veranda along the front of it and white pillars, a big house but not as big as Mrs. Alderman Parkinson's." (208) I chose this description because it was one that I could easily imagine and it didn't go on and on with unnecessary adjectives. One thing I observed of Atwood's use of poetic devices is that she liked to use poems and rhymes to explain things. One grace remembered from her childhood, one she picked up from her father who obviously didn't like being married, was: "Needles and pins, needles and pins, when a man marries his trouble begins." (103) In conclusion, I highly recommend Margaret Atwood's novel, Alias Grace.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Alias Grace is by far one of the most superior literary masterpieces of the 20th century. Complex, intriguing, spellbinding and engrossing are just a few of the adjectives I would use to describe this novel. A true murder mystery set against a historical backdrop, Ms. Atwood clearly does her research and places the writer 'back in time' to experience the harsh and cruel realities faced by the novel's 'antiheroine' Grace Marks. I strongly recommend it!
steveforbertfan More than 1 year ago
One of my favorite books, it draws you in from the beginning and you just want to know everything about every character every nuance of the story. She has a hit with this one
Guest More than 1 year ago
I almost liked this book. I was completely caught up in the story and enthralled by Grace until just before the murder that made the real Grace Marks infamous. I couldn't wait to see how Atwood pulled together the person that I had become so involved with and the awful events. The tension was incredible. Unfortunately, at that point, I felt that Atwood flinched, blinked, dodged, chickened out and otherwise completely dropped the ball. She more or less clumsily draws a veil over that event. I suppose that it would have been possible to have written so skillfully as to have maintained the mystery without leaving the reader feeling cheated, but I was thoroughly disappointed. The intimate detailed narrative is suddenly vanishes and Grace never tells us what happened. She seems to become a different and, for me, very unlikable person. Strictly for people who judge a novel by its prose but not its plotting.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Alias Grace is Atwood's best effort to date. A dark and absorbing story starting almost two centuries ago and tapping into the human psyche from the first page. This one will keep you turning the page right to the end. Well deserving of it's awards, not to be missed.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hi..sorry when I saw her post I just had to come see if you were doing it..could you do that to me in the next res. Setpdad?please I'm so fu.qing hor.ny
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
[Hey! This is Wyld. I'm going to go as Daddy. Do you want me to be the stepfathr, or real, honest-to-goodness biological father?] He opened the door, stepping inside. His eyes widened slightly.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
(I think stepfather would probably be better.) Alia stopped, and looked up at him.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this for a book club & probably wouldn't have done so otherwise. I was pleasantly surprised, particularly by the humor. The ending was contrived & inartful, almost as if Ms. Atwood was tired of her own story. I've read lots of her other writing, which I much prefer, but she excelled here in recapturing a woman's life at a bleak time. -- catwak
JonnMnz More than 1 year ago
The ending felt a bit rushed, but considering how the story played out it made sense why it was done this way. The author's style mixes 1st person perspective, 3rd person, and document style. It's can be pretty mixed but once you will find the rhythm to it.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Scary and engrossing! I'd read it again. One of Atwood's besr.
Woodsever More than 1 year ago
I read this in a day because I couldnt put it down. Well written victorian era story. Enthralling story that will keep you reading to find out what "really" happened all the way to the end. Women, especially, will be interested and surprised at the inner thoughts of the main character. WHO IS SHE REALLY? A must read...suspense filled drama....not overdone.....very well written.
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Petaar More than 1 year ago
Alias Grace is a book to which a reader will be engaged throughout the whole novel. It's plot is well developed and intense, thus allowing the reader to always want more on entering each chapter. The uses of literary elements are superb however one must keep an eye out to catch and understand what is truly being sad. Great book once again, perfect for everyday readers! *Cheers
Calawertsj More than 1 year ago
How would you describe the author's style? I enjoyed Atwood's style of writing throughout the novel. She changes it up at different points. For example, at the beginning and at the end her writing becomes somewhat complex for the reader. She writes in such away that it lets the brain of the reader visualize the situations. Towards the middle of the novel she wrote more simply and straight to the point. She gave the reader specific, easy to understand facts which I liked because it was less work on my brain. "SPOILER ALERT" I like how Atwood didn't really reveal to the reader if Grace was guilty or not. It lets the reader come to a conclusion by themselves. I like that because I have a good imagination. I liked seeing the progression and development of Grace Marks throughout the novel as well. Overall, I thought it was a pretty solid novel and I would recommend it to others.