Alias Grace shows the versatility of Margaret Atwood

Alias Grace was my third Margaret Atwood book after Lady Oracle and Oryx and Crake. What struck me most is how different they all are.

Atwood is a talented author who can switch between genre and eras with evident ease. She also defies labelling.

Alias Grace can’t be pigeon holed as historical fiction or a crime novel, despite the narrative being around two murders in a historical setting.

It’s more a study in psychology and the human condition, the lessons from which are applicable anywhere at any time.

The novel is based on a true story set in Canada during the mid 19th century. It’s told from the perspective of Grace Marks, who really was convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment, and a fictional doctor Simon Jordan, who interviewed her years after the event.

I like having the two perspectives and enjoyed the subtle humor which Atwood always manages to inject — Grace’s observations of the people around her and Simon’s misguided affair with his landlady.

As any good historical novel should do, it also transported me back to the the time and place, revealing facts about Canada’s turbulent political development I was previously unaware of.

I read this book earlier this year during a week at the beach and thoroughly enjoyed it.

A Netflix series based on the novel has been produced.

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