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The Accidental by Ali Smith - Review

Sunday, November 19, 2017

I read this for my book club and it was definitely not something I'd have ever chosen myself. I won't say I loved it, but I did like it. It's quite experimental in structure and form, so I found it quite hard to read and it took me forever. But, I was pleased to have finished it, I felt quite proud of myself for persevering!

Weirdly, it's a lot like The Betrayals that I read a couple of weeks ago and it was hard to not compare the two. It's about a family who are on holiday in Norfolk when a stranger arrives at the door. Mum Eve and her husband Michael both assume she is there for the other of them. Michael thinks she is an interviewee of Eve's, and Eve thinks she is one of the students that Michael has affairs with. The children in the family are Astrid, who is by far the best character, and who is obsessed with videotaping the dawn and tons of other stuff, and Magnus, who had a hand in the bullying of a classmate and is feeling terrible about it. The stranger in their midst is Amber, who bewitches the children and tells both adults truths about their lives. We see the points of view of the whole family, getting parts of the truth each time at the beginning, middle, and end.

The novel ends quite unsatisfactorily so there isn't a lot of nice wrapping up of the storylines. There are parts that I mostly skimmed because they were annoying me, and there were parts I really liked. It's laugh out loud funny in parts. It is odd, but I'm giving it a good three out of five.


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