Alias Grace

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Alias Grace
First edition cover
Author Margaret Atwood
Cover artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti (painting), Kong (first edition design)
Country Canada
Language English
Genre Historical fiction
Publisher McClelland & Stewart (first edition); Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (first U.K. edition)
Publication date
September 1996
Media type Print (hardback & paperback)
Pages 470
ISBN 0-7710-0835-X (first edition); ISBN 0-7475-2787-3 (first U.K. edition)
OCLC 35936659

Alias Grace is a novel of historical fiction by Canadian writer Margaret Atwood. First published in 1996 by McClelland & Stewart, it won the Canadian Giller Prize and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize.

The story is about the notorious 1843 murders of Thomas Kinnear and his housekeeper Nancy Montgomery in Upper Canada. Two servants of the Kinnear household, Grace Marks and James McDermott, were convicted of the crime. McDermott was hanged and Marks was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Although the novel is based on factual events, Atwood constructs a narrative with a fictional doctor, Simon Jordan, who researches the case. Although ostensibly conducting research into criminal behaviour, he slowly becomes personally involved in the story of Grace Marks and seeks to reconcile his perception of the mild mannered woman he sees with the murder of which she has been convicted.

Atwood also wrote an earlier work, the 1974 CBC Television film The Servant Girl, about Marks. However, in Alias Grace Atwood says that she has changed her opinion on the question of Marks' culpability.[citation needed]

The novel is written from various points of view, told mostly through the eyes of Grace Marks and her "alienist" doctor, Doctor Jordan (employing first and third person respectively). The shifting point of view makes the text appear disjointed and adds to the effect of uncertainty in the narrative. When written from Grace's point of view, the reader is never sure if Grace is speaking or thinking as Atwood refuses to use punctuation to indicate either.


In 2012, Sarah Polley announced that she would be adapting Alias Grace into a feature film.[1] This has since evolved into a television miniseries, confirmed by CBC Television as going into production in summer 2016. The series will air on CBC Television in Canada, and will stream globally on Netflix [2]

In 2016, Ball State University premiered a stage version written by Jennifer Blackmer.

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