کتاب روزنکرانتز و گیلدنسترن مرده اند

اثر تام استاپارد از انتشارات نیلوفر - مترجم: مصطفی اسلامیه-دهه 1960

منتقدین تا کنون مطالب بسیاری در ستایش این رمان نوشته‌اند، برخی آن را شاهکار خانم آتوود و یکی از مهمترین رمانهای پایان قرن بیستم دانسته‌اند. این اثر در سال 1996 منتشر شد. نشریه تایم آن را رمانی مرموز و افسون کننده توصیف کرد، واشنگتن پست نوشت نثر به کار رفته در آن الماس‌گون و کل اثر دارای زمینه‌ای روان‌شناسانه و مسحورکننده است، و درواقع کاوش ارزنده است در زوایای احساس و طبیعت زن، آن‌سان که می‌تواند بافلوبر هم‌سنگ باشد.


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** spoiler alert ** Im giving this three stars, but the correct rating would be 2 1/2 stars - I liked this book, for the most part, but there were just too many unanswered questions and minor annoyances for me to want to read it again.
Usually, I hate giving away the endings of books in my reviews, but I honestly cannot talk about Alias Grace without giving away major plot points. Youve been warned.

So: for the most part, this was a cool story, mostly because its based on the true story of Grace Marks, who supposedly helped murder her employer and his housekeeper. She served thirty years in prison, plus several years in a mental institution. Atwoods story has two perspectives: Grace Marks and Simon Jordan, a doctor whos interviewing her and basically trying to get her to remember the day of the murders. This was all pretty cool, and I liked Grace a lot as a protagonist. So lets move on to the negative.
Stuff I Didnt Like:
-Simon creeped me out. One minute hes half-heartedly flirting with the daughter of the prison Govenor while mentally undressing her, and then hes screwing his landlady for reasons that even he doesnt understand. And then towards the end of the book hes suddenly like, @Oh wait! Im in love with Grace! Yes! Totally in love@ and it made NO SENSE. This was the first time Id read a book where Atwood writes from a mans perspective, and it did not go well.
-I guessed the ending. This is an extremely bad sign, because I can NEVER guess book endings, ever. But with this book, Id gotten to the part where Grace describes how McDermott told her shed promised to sleep with him, and she was like, @I did not@ and I thought, @Shes being possessed by the spirit of Mary Whitney.@ And then I thought that it had to be more complicated than that, and that there would be a scientific explanation for it. But there wasnt. Which brings me to my next point...
-Atwoods half-hearted commitment to the paranormal aspect of the story. The hypnosis scene revealed that Mary was possessing Grace, but then everyone was like, @But thats not possible, theres a psychological explanation@ but they never gave one. All the elements of a good ghost story are here: the peddlar who reads palms, divination with an apple peel, people making strange, random prophesies (like Graces mother saying she wouldnt survive the voyage, and Mary telling Grace shed cross water three times before getting married), and the bizarre possession. But Atwood, probably because she didnt want to lose her credibility or something, refrains from going all-out with the paranormal events. If shed have relaxed a bit and written the book as a ghost story instead of historic fiction, it would have been really good.
-The whole hypnosis. I was sure it was all an act, because Jeremiah had been telling Grace earlier about setting up a fake spiritualist act, but then Grace didnt seem to remember anything about the hypnosis or what she said during it. So could Jeremiah actually hypnotize people? After the hypnosis scene, and as soon as I realized I was expected to believe that it had been authentic, was when my faith in the story really started to drop. It was all downhill from there.
-No twist ending. I was waiting, up until the last page, for Grace to be like, @Im so glad I killed those two bastards. Mwahahahaha! The end.@ But no such luck. In retrospect, I should have known better - Atwood hates giving readers a straight answer to anything, and conclusive endings where everything gets wrapped up in a neat little package is for lesser authors, I guess.


مشاهده لینک اصلی
Audiobook performed by Sarah Gadon and an afterword by Margaret Atwood 15h 57m.

I definitely enjoyed this more than Handmaids Tale. Imagine! I wish Netflix Canada would air the series for us Canucks that choose Netflix as our only television option. Because now that I have read/listened to the story, I am excited to see it all play out onscreen.

The tale of Irish servant Grace Marks is not one that I had ever heard about. It isnt one that we find lingering in our history books,but Atwood makes her come alive on the page. Although I felt myself feeling a sense of empathy for Grace, I also was not completely persuaded that she hadnt had some hand in the crimes that she was accused of committing. It was this going back and forth coupled with Sarah Gadons narration that has kept me spellbound this week.

If you havent yet read an Atwood novel, I think this is the book for any new reader.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
My, so far, favourite Atwood!

Alias Grace is the fictional re-imaging of the historical figure Grace Marks. Grace was just 16 in the year 1843 when she was accused of murdering her employer, Thomas Kinnear, along with his mistress and housekeeper, Nancy Montgomery. Graces regal beauty and tender age redeemed her to the masses and a score of individuals pleaded for her freedom. Grace had little to say for herself, claiming short-term amnesia for the time surrounding the murder. James McDermott was also convicted but, unlike Grace, had no individuals fighting for him, apart from their shared lawyer, and swung for his misdemeanours. Just before he took his final breaths he announced to the crowd that Grace was responsible for Nancys murder. Instead of following his fate, Grace was incarcerated in an asylum. Whether she was guilty or innocent has never been proven and Grace herself remained reluctant to redeem or condemn herself, continuing to claim a lapse in memory until her eventual death.

This fictional account follows Graces story some years after the chilling ordeal. She is now only temporarily incarcerated at night and spends her days working as a maid in a grand household. Doctor Simon Jordan visits her new abode and, eager to uncover the secrets of this infamous case, sets up a series of meetings in which to explore the past by increasingly peculiar means.

Uncovering the mysteries of the past had me as enthralled and captivated as Dr Jordan. Learning the details of this case, through Graces own words (albeit fictionally), was exhilarating. I appreciated how Atwood provided autonomy to the silenced, historical female and allowed her a space in which to voice her own story.

The intrigue continued far beyond the reaches of the page, as Graces fictional story terminates as mysteriously as her real-world duplicates. The reader is invited to provide their own closure as no sufficient one is granted, by both Atwood and by history. And so, Grace Marks continues to haunt and to capture the imagination.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
@Sometimes at night I whisper it over to myself: Murderess, Murderess. It rustles, like a taffeta skirt across the floor.
Murderer is merely brutal. It’s like a hammer, or a lump of metal. I would rather be a murderess than a murderer, if those are the only choices.@


Alias Grace is Margaret Atwoods record of Grace Marks, who convicted of murder, spent thirty years in prison and a mental institution before being pardoned.

The book is based on true events of one of Ontarios most ambiguous cases - there was a confession but there was also an episode of amnesia - or was there?

@You won’t believe me, Sir, I say. Anyway it’s all been decided, the trial is long over and done with and what I say will not change anything. You should ask the lawyers and the judges, and the newspaper men, they seem to know my story better than I do myself.@

Atwood pieces together the records about Grace Marks in this book, paying much attention to the details of characters, conditions, and to the analysis of contradictions in those various records. As a result Alias Grace is not just a biography of Grace Marks but more poignantly a record of womens lives in mid-nineteenth century Ontario.

Its a harsh read, full of tragedy and hardship, of misogyny, of ignorance, violence, hypocrisy.
Grace, whilst incarcerated, spends periods of time in the mental hospital associated with the prison - and we never find out whether there was a need for her to be there or whether she sought a reprieve from prison conditions.

@They wouldn’t know mad when they saw it in any case, because a good portion of the women in the Asylum were no madder than the Queen of England. Many were sane enough when sober, as their madness came out of a bottle, which is a kind I knew very well. One of them was in there to get away from her husband, who beat her black and blue, he was the mad one but nobody would lock him up; and another said she went mad in the autumns, as she had no house and it was warm in the Asylum, and if she didn’t do a fair job of running mad she would freeze to death; but then in the spring she would become sane again because it was good weather and she could go off and tramp in the woods and fish, and as she was part Red Indian she was handy at such things. I would like to do that myself if I knew how, and if not afraid of the bears.@

Considering that the treatment of mental illness at the time was nothing short of barbaric, the indication that people would voluntarily submit to the asylum was one of the most evocative illustrations of the conditions endured by the women described in the book.

When reading the book, I was reminded of The Handmaids Tale. It occurred to me that this was simply a re-working of the biography of Grace Marks from the same perspective that focused on the unfair and unequal treatment of women in The Handmaids Tale.
I am hesitant to use the term @feminist@ here as I dont want to taint the term with, I guess, my own criticism of the perspective used by Atwood in Alias Grace. What was lacking for me in this novel was the presence of any decent men in Graces story prior to her incarceration. This notable absence, even more so the portrayal of men in a bad light throughout almost the entire book, made it difficult to trust the credibility of the descriptions - as otherwise this would have been a 5* read.

@...the real curse of Eve was having to put up with the nonsense of Adam, who as soon as there was any trouble, blamed it all on her.@

What I did enjoy about the book, tho, was that it did not seek to provide answers or morals. After all, Graces story is set in an almost amoral environment where wisdom is not gained by learning or status but only by living.

@The pattern of this quilt is called the Tree of Paradise, and whoever named that pattern said better than she knew, as the Bible does not say Trees. It says there were two different trees, the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge; but I believe there was only the one, and that the Fruit of Life and the Fruit of Good and Evil were the same. And if you ate of it you would die, but if you didn’t eat of it you would die also; although if you did eat of it, you would be less bone-ignorant by the time you got around to your death.@


مشاهده لینک اصلی
Alias Grace, although a work of fiction, is based on one of Canadas most infamous murder cases. In Toronto, in 1843 16-year-old Grace Marks and fellow servant, James McDermott were accused of murdering their employer, Thomas Kinnear and his housekeeper and mistress, Nancy Montgomery. Both were sentenced to death and McDermott was hanged. However, Graces lawyer was able to get her sentence commuted to life imprisonment by arguing her youth, her gender, and, according to him, her feeble-mindedness.

The story opens when Grace has been in Kingston Penitentiary for 15 years. This is a period of reform in Canada and a group of clergy and others hire Dr Simon Jordan, a young American psychiatrist, to establish her innocence as Grace claims to have no memory of the actual murders. The story is told from different perspectives. Each chapter begins with an actual quote from the period, including excerpts from the trial, her and James confessions, newspaper articles, and from Susanna Moodie, an early Canadian writer who went to see Grace, both at the penitentiary and, in the insane asylum, where she spent five years. The story is also told by Grace in the first person while Jordans part of the story is told in the third.

Each chapter is also named after a quilt pattern with a corresponding picture of the pattern and each pattern gives us a hint of what to expect in the chapter. Throughout the story, Grace talks about quilt patterns and she is often pictured piecing a quilt together while telling her story. Grace, frequently, points out that quilts appear differently when seen from different angles and, like the quilts, Graces story is pieced together from fragments, not all of which seem to fit together.

Atwood never establishes the guilt or innocence of Grace. Instead, she leaves it up to the reader to decide whether Grace is the innocent she seems to portray herself or the murdering temptress others have named her. As Grace tells her story, she often admits to the reader, but not to Jordan, that she is telling him what she thinks he wants to hear, so that we are never sure whether to believe any or all of what she says.

But this story isnt really about whether Grace is innocent or guilty although guilt plays an important role in the story. It is about class, and status, and about the role of women in Victorian Canada at a time when women, regardless of class, were seen as the weaker sex, feeble of mind and body, always at the mercy of men who invariably seem to betray them. According to Grace, poor women have only three avenues open to them, service in a wealthy household, marriage, or prostitution.

Alias grace is a fascinating look at Canada West (Ontario) in Victorian times; it is also an intriguing psychological thriller as well as a brilliant feminist novel. Margaret Atwood is often considered Canadas greatest living writer. It is easy to see why when you read Alias Grace.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
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