The book is beautifully written, sometimes almost a little too experimentally, yet it sometimes seems clichéd. An easy example; the book is split into parts--Beginning, Middle, End--and in each of those parts each character has a chapter describing what happens to them, each character's chapter begins "the beginning", "the middle", "the end".
To summarize, the novel describes what happens to a family on an extended holiday when an uninvited--indeed unknown--guest shows up & lives with the family. Each character has fatal flaws & the guest through her conniving manages to show those flaws to each individual. They all grow and find themselves, some to more success for their future lives than others by the finish.
Other than the writing being slightly over the top, the main thing that stopped me really enjoying the book was that none of the characters are particularly likable.
Do stick with it; it gets better about a third of the way through, but still not enough for me to effuse over it....Continua
The story of a dysfunctional family, whose summer is disturbed by the arrival of a mystery visitor, who turns their lives upside down and forces each member of the family to evaluate what has happened in their lives.
I couldn't put this one down. I was entranced by the concept and the writing is beautiful. It was both comedic and thoughtful. I would highly recommend it to others.
Why did it take me so long to take this one off my shelf and start reading it?...Continua
I was drawn in, involved with the characters, getting to grips with the curious language, and then... then nothing much. I seem to have finished the book and yet missed the ending... A bit disappointed to be honest.
(unless I missed the point, anyone?)...Continua
A brilliant portrayal of the disparate, quirky characters in a dysfunctional family, and how the introduction of a mysterious and free-spirited (and quite possibly, unhinged) Amber into their lives disrupts, threatens but ultimately bonds them by forcing them to discover themselves and each other with renewed clarity and perspective.
The writing style and the novel's structure is very clever and somtimes brilliant, especially Amber's first-person narrative - a fuelled, frenzied, beatnik roman candle. It's not a straightforward page-flipping read - prepare to engage your brain to navigate the shifting perspective, somewhat experimental form and engrossing language - but definitely a rewarding one....Continua
Ali Smith's The Accidental is an engaging read that follows two paths. One is the path of Amber, a young woman who was conceived in a classic movie theater, and the other is the family whose lives she enters. She arrives unannounced and immediately has an impact. Michael, the husband/stepfather is a college professor with an appetite for his students. He immediately sets his sights on Amber, who rebuffs him at every turn. Eve, the wife/mother, believes that Amber is in fact one of her husband's student (Michael think that Amber is a researcher who has arrived to interview Eve about a series of books she has written). For whatever reason, she appreciates the easy peace that Amber brings to the family, but resents her inwardly at the same time. Magnus, the teenaged boy, is pleasantly obsessed with Amber, who helps him through suicidal feelings and a bit of coming-of-age. And Astrid, a younger girl who turns her nose up at most everything, becomes more open and soft in the older woman's presence. The book does a fine job of exploring the ways that Amber changes all four family members, and also eventually moves in a circular direction to begin the cycle anew (the three sections of the book are split into beginning, middle and end, though the end feels as much like a beginning as the book's opening pages do)....Continua