The Accidental – Ali Smith

The Accidental follows the story of a family on holiday in Norfolk Island, who come across a stranger that instigate a change in their family dynamics.

I was excited to get into this story, as I had never read an Ali Smith novel before. I found the writing was clever and poetic. It was a linguistic adventure. I appreciated the intricate layout of chapters and weaving of character stories. I found the book deeply introspective, with pages of self reflection with occasional flicks to the present.

This was interesting but at times I found myself wondering, where is this going? Why do I need to know this? The novel would of course always end up showing the reason, but I felt I sat in a place of not knowing, sometimes, for an uncomfortable amount of time which resulted in a wavering of engagement. There was a relationship that developed between a woman and an under age boy, I did feel like this was uncomfortable and possibly unnecessary.

My favourite character was 12 year old Astrid, who was scathingly factual and instantly relatable.

Information is a joke. It is laughable. It is so meaningful it is meaningless – Astrid

I wonder whether this was the wrong time for me to pick this book up, perhaps I didn’t have the patience it required at the time. Regardless, I glanced briefly at the last third of the book and decided not to finish it. I haven’t struck Ali off my authors list yet, I would like to try another of her works in the future. Unfortunately, The Accidental just didn’t do it for me.

New words:
Numinous – indicating the presence of a divinity; spiritual; awe-inspiring
Mendacious – lying, untruthful
Insouciant – carefree; unconcerned

Keeping? Not keeping

Genre: Adult Fiction
2005

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