0568 | The Accidental | Ali Smith


This is a quirky story told from the perspective of each member of a family who rent a holiday home in the English countryside for the summer. When a mysterious stranger arrives, you get a facet of her from each description but never enough to complete the whole picture of who she might be. There’s a twist in the tale once the mother throws her out though.

It’s so often true that, within a family, walls exist which prevent us seeing others and others seeing us as we truly are. We will, however, often let strangers see parts of us that we keep hidden from our relatives. The Accidental shows what can happen when that occurs.

This is not an excellent novel, but it is good enough because it asks questions about how we view ourselves, the views of ourselves we present to others and about our own views of others. Throughout the book, you are often presented with two or more views of a character and so you are forced to face your own interpretation of who they are. I thought it was creative to do that by throwing a stranger into the mix.

It’s very readable too, so if you’re looking to add a quick one to your 1001 books tally, this’ll do nicely.


My mother began me one evening in 1968 on a table in the cafe of the town’s only cinema.


This might reveal the ending. If you want to see the quote, click show

RATING accidentalr
Key: Legacy | Plot / toPic | Characterisation / faCts | Readability | Achievement | Style
Read more about how I come up with my ratings.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.