Summer Reading Sale

Recently Viewed clear list

Original Essays | June 20, 2014

Lauren Owen: IMG The Other Vampire

It's a wild and thundery night. Inside a ramshackle old manor house, a beautiful young girl lies asleep in bed. At the window, a figure watches... Continue »

Qualifying orders ship free.
List price: $15.95
Used Trade Paper
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
4 Beaverton Literature- A to Z

Alias Grace


Alias Grace Cover



Reading Group Guide

1. This novel is rooted in physical reality, on one hand, and floats free of it on the other, as Atwood describes physical things in either organic, raw terms (the "tongue-colored settee") or with otherworldly, more ephemeral images (the laundry like "angels rejoicing, although without any heads"). How do such descriptions deepen and reinforce the themes in the novel?

2. The daily and seasonal rhythm of household work is described in detail. What role does this play in the novel in regard to its pace?

3. Atwood employs two main points of view and voices in the novel. Do you trust one more than the other? As the story progresses, does Grace's voice (in dialogue) in Simon's part of the story change? If so, how and why?

4. Grace's and Simon's stories are linked and they have a kinship on surface and deeper levels. For instance, they both eavesdrop or spy as children, and later, each stays in a house that would have been better left sooner or not entered at all. Discuss other similarities or differences in the twinning of their stories and their psyches.

5. Atwood offers a vision of the dual nature of people, houses, appearances, and more. How does she make use of darkness and light, and to what purpose?

6. In a letter to his friend Dr. Edward Murchie, Simon Jordan writes, "Not to know--to snatch at hints and portents, at intimations, at tantalizing whispers--it is as bad as being haunted." How are the characters in this story affected by the things they don't know?

7. How and why does Atwood conceal Grace's innocence or guilt throughout the novel? At what points does one become clearer than the other and at what points does it become unclear?

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

misabelladares, May 19, 2010 (view all comments by misabelladares)
This is my favorite Atwood novel. From the epigraphs to the Author's Afterword, this is a superbly constructed work filled with images beautiful and grisly, characters devious and trapped, and fascinating period details. The quilt-pattern chapter titles, the murder ballad, the epistolary segments, dreams, the daily routine--it's true that one doesn't want it to end. A good one to read and re-read.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Avital, February 5, 2007 (view all comments by Avital)
Alias Grace is one of the best books I read last year. But of course, Margaret Atwood Never lets you down...She weaves a facinating story based on a true one about a young woman who might have been a Machiavelic murderess or a victim of circumstances. The story involves you as soon as it begins, and you never wish the book to end.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(15 of 20 readers found this comment helpful)
eayc, September 9, 2006 (view all comments by eayc)
Fiction at it's best. The opening paragraph captured me and I've loved every word since. Although this book is about a vicious murder, the book is not scary. It the story of the woman accused. You won't be disappointed.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(15 of 32 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 3 comments

Product Details

Atwood, Margaret Eleanor
Anchor Books
Atwood, Margaret
New York :
British and irish fiction (fictional works by
Historical - General
Trials (Murder)
Historical fiction
Women murderers
Biographical fiction
Trials (Murder) -- Canada -- Fiction.
General Fiction
Literature-A to Z
fiction;historical fiction;canada;murder;canadian;novel;mystery;crime;women;historical;19th century;prison;20th century;canadian literature;literature;canadian fiction;atwood;feminism;history;literary fiction;psychology;mental illness;margaret atwood;grac
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
October 1997
Grade Level:
8 x 5.2 x 1 in 0.8 lb

Other books you might like

  1. Angels & Insects: Two Novellas Used Trade Paper $3.95
  2. The Map of Love Used Trade Paper $4.50
  3. Handmaid's Tale Used Mass Market $3.95
  4. The Blind Assassin
    Used Trade Paper $6.95
  5. Unravelling Used Trade Paper $4.50
  6. The Stone Angel Used Mass Market $3.95

Related Subjects

Featured Titles » Literature
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Popular Fiction » Suspense

Alias Grace Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$4.50 In Stock
Product details 480 pages Anchor Books - English 9780385490443 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , In Alias Grace, bestselling author Margaret Atwood has written her most captivating, disturbing, and ultimately satisfying work since The Handmaid's Tale. She takes us back in time and into the life of one of the most enigmatic and notorious women of the nineteenth century.

Grace Marks has been convicted for her involvement in the vicious murders of her employer, Thomas Kinnear, and Nancy Montgomery, his housekeeper and mistress. Some believe Grace is innocent; others think her evil or insane. Now serving a life sentence, Grace claims to have no memory of the murders.

Dr. Simon Jordan, an up-and-coming expert in the burgeoning field of mental illness, is engaged by a group of reformers and spiritualists who seek a pardon for Grace. He listens to her story while bringing her closer and closer to the day she cannot remember. What will he find in attempting to unlock her memories? Is Grace a female fiend? A bloodthirsty femme fatale? Or is she the victim of circumstances?

  • back to top
Follow us on...

Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at