Review: The Accidental by Ali Smith
Title: The Accidental
Author: Smith, Ali
Length: 306 pages
Publisher / Year: Penguin / 2006
Why I Read It: I’d heard good things about the author.
Date Read: 07/04/12
Told in the various voices of the Smart family, the mother Eve, her children Astrid and Magnus, and Eve’s partner Michael, we follow the family over the course of one summer vacation in which they invite a complete stranger into their life and vacation home. This event (which seems rather unbelievable to me) affects them all in different ways, causing their life path to change drastically.
It was an interesting narrative method that Smith uses. Each chapter the voice changes, and each is quite unique and easy to place. We are inside the characters heads and follow their thoughts which are often disjointed, jumping around to random things. It took a bit to get used to, but then it felt almost like following your own thoughts in a way. This allowed the author to include the perspective of each character, and to show the ways in which they wanted to be seen as well as the ways they actually acted and thought. That filter we place on ourselves wasn’t there, as we are inside their thoughts listening in.
Various issues are discussed in the book including the rights of a writer, relationships with students, bullying and teen suicide. Despite all of these topics, the book still felt like a light and easy read. The heavy topics are more background items that the characters have to deal with, and we see the ways in which the various issues affect the families lives, but they remain background items.
An interesting book, though certainly not a favorite, it nonetheless kept me entertained for a few hours. Recommended for lovers of British fiction.