Barefoot, thirtysomething Amber shows up at the door of a Norfolk cottage that the Smarts are renting for the summer. Amber doesn't know them, but she talks her way in, telling lies, and stays for dinner. Eve, an author, thinks Amber is a student her husband is sleeping with. Michael, an English professor, knows only that her car broke down. Daughter Astrid, age 12, thinks she's her mother's friend. Son Magnus, 17, thinks she's an angel. Gradually, Amber insinuates herself into the family. Dazzled by her seeming exoticism, the Smarts begin to examine the accidents of their lives under the searing lens of Amber's perceptions. When Eve finally banishes her from the cottage, Amber disappears from their sight, but not, as they find when they return home to London, from their profoundly altered lives.
Fearlessly intelligent, disarmingly playful, The Accidental is a Joycean tour-de-force of literary improvisation that explores the nature of truth, the role of chance, and the transformative power of storytelling.
2005 Man Booker Finalist, Fiction
"Spectacular....Allusive, ambitious and formally acrobatic....Original, restless, formally and morally challenging." (The Times Literary Supplement)
"An outstanding novel....Exuberantly inventive....Beautifully formed and astringently intelligent." (The Sunday Times [London])
"Her simple, disquieting story lifts into brilliance." (Publishers Weekly)
"Acrobatic prose that seem in a perpetual state of acceleration....Mesmerizing." (Booklist)
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I do not recommend
Excellent writing, thought provoking