Ali Smith’s The Accidental

I first picked up this book when I was fifteen and quickly discarded it. Five years later I had nothing to read, so I opened it once again, and found myself putting it down a few hours later, this book had my head spinning.

I loved how Smith guided the reader throughout the text by breaking the book into three sections – beginning, middle, and end – but then throwing you off course with fragmented thoughts and elusive characters.

Astrid: the confused and elusive 12 year old who wants to be left alone and makes sense of the world through a viewfinder

Magnus: the moody teenager who is trying to figure out his sexuality and navigate the murky waters of depression

Michael: the adulterous husband and failed teacher

Eve: the lost mother who is out of touch with her children and her life

Smith seems to perfectly capture the essence of each character in all their glory and gore. This book is not for everyone (not even for my 15 year old self!), but if it is for you, it will amaze and astound you. And everything you thought a novel should be will slap you right in the face.

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