I read Alias Grace back in 2002 and it was my first introduction to Margaret Atwood. Although I have read a good number of her novels, I still hold that this is her best work.
Alias Grace is about the trial and interrogation of servant Grace Marks, who was convicted of murdering her master, Thomas Kinnear in the late 1800’s. To this day the case is still shrouded with mystery and Atwood herself does not take any sides in this aspect of the novel.
The novel is told through different points of view, mostly Marks but her (fictional) psychiatrist Dr. Simon Jordan helps us put pieces of the puzzle together. Ultimately though we do not know if Marks was simply an an accomplice or the actual murderer.
Atwood here is stressing on the plight of women in late 1800’s Canadian society and how they were treated. We see how Marks relationship with her master Kinnear (who has a mistress) and glimpses of her madness and brief institutionalization as well.
Alias Grace is a highly addictive novel and I suggest that it is the best introduction Atwood’s mighty canon. True she has also written many works with a science fiction slant but I feel that Alias Grace brings out all the aspects of feminism that is seen throughout most of her novels.