One of my 2017-2018 goals, besides reading all the books on my shelf (a project that is rapidly winding down, thank goodness!), is to read all of Margaret Atwood’s books. She’s so prolific that it’s an act easier said than done, but with my book club pick coming up, I decided to use it wisely on a book I’d never read. And that’s the story of how I ended up reading Alias Grace. Also, the arrival of the Netflix show has me intrigued (also, WHEN IS HBO MAKING MADDADDAM? I will pay them all my moneys for this, so, you know, don’t be shy about this, HBO).
Grace Marks is a thirty-something prison inmate, accused of murdering her employer Thomas Kinnear and his housekeeper/mistress Nancy Montgomery. She is initially sentenced to death, but saved by an intrepid lawyer and just forced to spend life in prison. She is a fine seamstress and so, she works for the governor’s wife while claiming to possess no memory of the crime that she has confessed to. Dr. Simon Jordan, an up-and-coming star in the field of mental illness, has come from the United States to try and jog her memory. But memory is a tricky thing to piece together, and as Atwood weaves her spell, you are drawn into a million stories that may or may not be true.
One of my degrees in college was history, so the narrative of history is always fascinating to me. I really liked the way Atwood worked in the present moment, the past, the dreams, the letters, and the various written documents that pieced this case together. Even though Simon’s mishaps were not necessarily linked to the mystery itself, they paralleled the predicaments a lot of the characters faced in the novel. There is an interesting commentary about history repeating itself there.
Cross-posted to my blog.