While the use of Grace’s first person narrative voice in the retelling of her story to the point at which the story begins is exciting in its intimacy (as posted previously), something about it is starting to bother me.
Grace seems to recall the events of days that are fifteen plus years past to an unrealistically detailed degree.
Nancy told him to come back in the afternoon, and bring his flute with him; and when he was gone, she said that he played so beautiful it was a pleasure to hear it. She was in a good temper again by this time, and helped me get the dinner done, which was a cold one, with ham and pickles, and a salad from the kitchen garden; for there were lettuces and chives to be had. But she ate in the dining room with Mr. Kinnear, as before, and I had to make do with McDermott for my own company. (p. 225)
In the above instance, this day in particular was not a special one of any sort but rather one at the beginning of Grace’s service at Mr. Kinnear’s. To remember what was served on that day–although it would be easy to guess–is rather odd. Too, I realize through Grace’s own shared insight that she is trying to please Dr. Jordan in her storytelling and may indeed be embroidering it with detail for interest, as Atwood herself is making it more compelling by setting the scenes. After all, this day being recalled fifteen years later would no doubt just be lost and not mentioned, but as a necessary informational device, Atwood does double duty in the inclusion of it; for information and interest.
Just an observation on my part, being nitpicky and cautious on learning writing technique as well as acting on narrative critique of the novel.