I’m not sure what I think about Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood. At times it felt clunky (especially while discrediting Susanna Moodie), at times it made me feel super uncomfortable as I grappled with the horrors that women went through in asylums, and at times I felt disconnected. Pieces. A book of pieces. Then I realized, that’s the point! Grace Mark’s story is only in pieces and Atwood blends them together to create a quilt. Got it. Nice work, Atwood.
I was in a hurry to read this novel because there is a lot of hype about an upcoming TV series with CBC and Netflix based on the book. Although I have owned the book for years and can’t even remember when or where I got it, I knew that now was the time to pick it up. But it wasn’t easy.
Grace Marks is a serving girl who was accused of helping to kill the housekeeper and master whom she worked for. She was pardoned from being hung, but she spent 30 years in jail in the 1800s. I can’t even imagine how horrible that must have been.
Using newspapers, confessions, others’ reports, and her imagination, Atwood pieces together an account of Grace Marks’ life and it is messy. I have to be honest, I’m looking forward to how TV will interpret an author’s interpretation of Grace Marks’ life!
I’m glad I picked up Alias Grace before the show came on. I will say, it was enjoyable but not one of my favourites by Atwood. Bring on the mini-series!
“When you are in the middle of a story it isn’t a story at all, but only a confusion; a dark roaring, a blindness, a wreckage of shattered glass and splintered wood; like a house in a whirlwind, or else a boat crushed by the icebergs or swept over the rapids, and all aboard powerless to stop it. It’s only afterwards that it becomes anything like a story at all. When you are telling it, to yourself or to someone else.” (Atwood, Alias Grace)