Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood

by Joli
Published: Last Updated on

Alias Grace was my first ever Margaret Atwood novel. *Gasp* not sure how I made it through 28 years of English-studying, book-loving life without reading an Atwood novel! Why exactly did I start with this particular one? I happened upon a garage sale this past fall that was just FULL of books. They had to have been selling their whole collection! This novel was just one of the great finds I scored there.

First of all, as a capital L Literature snob, Atwood’s writing style was wonderful. The way she strings words and phrases together floated my boat, most definitely! It was both elegant and smart, but not difficult to read at all.

I want to share this review on the back of my copy of the novel:

A stunning novel full of sly wit, compassion and insight, boasting writing that is lyrical, assured, evocative of time and place, and seductive in its power to engage us.
– Houston Chronicle

Heck yes! I agree with you, whoever you are at the Houston Chronicle. Especially on the “sly wit” part – there’s such a soft spot in my heart for some well-written wit, and this novel had no shortage of it. I caught myself smiling and chuckling at many points in the book, as there were several characters capable of fantastic wit.

That said, the story moved a little slowly for me throughout most of the book, and then suddenly resolved so quickly in the last 100 pages or so. I have to admit I was even slightly bored in the middle, when not much was happening. It was the writing style, wit and mystery that kept me from getting too overly bored.

Mystery isn’t usually the kind of thing I like to read, but this was so well done. Atwood really keeps you guessing – at the very moment when you think you’ve solved it, something is said or happens that makes you wonder. Could Grace be crazy? Is she a murderer? Is she just really cunning? Atwood’s mastery of this aspect of the story was totally spot-on.

Atwood plays around a lot with a couple major themes: the roles of women and men in society and psychology. Each female character is somehow weaker and sluttier than the next! It was definitely a hit-you-over-the-head kind of theme. But in this novel, it worked, because it seems like females win in the end, despite the odds. The male characters also ended up being rather hilariously ill-equipped. The psychology theme was super funny to me – I won’t go too far into it, but I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the celebrated psychologist exits the story in the way that he does. Read it, and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Overall, I liked Alias Grace and would recommend it to anyone who shares my Literature interests.

Every time I told someone I was reading this book, they had the same reaction: “Oh my gosh, you need to read The Handmaid’s Tale. It’s so good! I loved it!” What do you think? Should that be my next Atwood novel?

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Maggie April 25, 2016 - 11:09 am

Isn’t she wonderful?! I love her. She’s one of my top 5 authors of all time. I have tons of Atwood suggestions, so next time you’re looking for one of her books, let me know!

Joli April 26, 2016 - 6:40 am

She’s fantastic!! I would love to put another of her novels on my list…which is your favorite??


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