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The Accidental

by Ali Smith

eBooks of the Month Modern and Contemporary Fiction

LoveReading View on The Accidental

Category Winner of the Whitbread Novel Award 2005 and short listed for the Man Booker. The engrossing tale of a middle-class family and the events that unfold when a stranger steps into their midst.  Amber's arrival changes the family's lives dramatically as she quickly bonds with the Smarts, bewitching them all.  Smith's writing is fantastic, capturing the voices of all the characters superbly, but especially that of the adolescent Astrid who steals the show.  Utterly compelling.


The Accidental Synopsis

14 year old Astrid is spending the summer with her family in a substandard holiday home in a substandard town in Norfolk, and she knows for sure nothing’s going to happen there all substandard summer.  So she’s started filming the dawn breaking each morning on her Sony digital camera.

Magnus, Astrid’s older brother, has been pulled out of the upper-sixth early.  He used to be form-captain, sickeningly excited about things like calculus, and how plants grow.  Now he lies face down on the floor in his room like a beached whale.  What happened?  One month ago he and two friends took a picture of a lower-sixth girl’s head, fixed it onto another body, and sent it round everyone’s email, then she killed herself.

Dr Michael Smart lectures in English Literature at a London university.  Though spending the summer in Norfolk, he’s popping down to London, marking work, checking exam results etc, and secretly meeting his current special pupil, the alarmingly ambitious Philippa Knott.

Eve chose the Norfolk holiday home for its ‘elegant summerhouse with internet connection point’ where she can get on with researching and writing her next book.  But the advert turned out to be a fraud, the summerhouse is more of a shed really.  But then Eve’s a bit of a fraud too.  She hasn’t written a word all summer.

Amber just arrived one day.  Eve assumed she was Michael’s student, Michael thought she knew Eve.  Magnus thought she was an angel, sent to save him.  Astrid thought that if Amber were a cartoon character, she would have been a superheroine, but also that she is definitely insane.  And then Amber just didn’t leave…


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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9780141010397
Publication date: 06/04/2006
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Format: Paperback (b Format)

ISBN: 9780241141908
Publication date: 26/05/2005
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9780241141908
Publication date: 26th May 2005
Author: Ali Smith
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Format: Hardback
Genres: eBook Favourites, Modern and Contemporary Fiction,

About Ali Smith

Ali Smith was born in Inverness in 1962. She is the author of Free Love and Other Stories, Like, Other Stories and Other Stories, Hotel World, The Whole Story and Other Stories, The Accidental, Girl Meets Boy, The First Person and Other Stories, There but for the, Artful, How to be both, and Public Library and other stories. Hotel World was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the Orange Prize and The Accidental was shortlisted for the Man Booker and the Orange Prize. How to be both won the Baileys Prize, the Goldsmiths Prize and the Costa Novel Award and was ...

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