Margaret Atwood: will Alias Grace repeat the TV success of The Handmaid’s Tale?

Atwood’s 19th-century murder story is another prescient study of women in a patriarchal society

Alias Grace, published 21 years ago, sits as near as dammit in the middle of Margaret Atwood’s novels; eight precede and seven succeed it (although with the ever productive Atwood, there are probably more to come). Though she had already ventured into the world of the satirical, fabular and dystopic in novels such as Lady Oracle and Cat’s Eye, Alias Grace was her first foray into the distant past. Set in 1840s and 1850s Ontario – it had only recently been the British-controlled colony of Upper Canada – it recreates the true and much disputed story of Grace Marks.

As Sarah Polley’s adaptation finally comes to Netflix – finally because Polley first wrote to Atwood to ask for the film rights shortly after publication, when she was a mere 17-year-old – it is set to join Hulu’s version of The Handmaid’s Tale in bringing Atwood’s novels to a wider audience.

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