My First Ali Smith (The Accidental)

There is something indescribably exciting about picking up a book by the author you have never met (not literally) before.

One gloomy Friday afternoon during lunch break I stopped by second-hand book shop in Riga to treat myself with something new (again, not literally). I had a couple of names in my mind, but no particular goal.

As I mostly pick my books by the author, I have been carefully browsing through the shelves with great hopes to stumble upon a name I know. Then Ali Smith came to my sight. I have been aiming to read something by Smith for a couple of years now, but I never managed to get around it. That very moment I knew I am not leaving without her book.

It was “The Accidental” I came across. I have heard about most of Ali Smith books before, but not about this particular one. Frankly, I felt relieved to find an unknown title. I am one of those people who picks a book without reading the back cover. I like to see the story developing in front of my eyes. And so, the very next thing I know, I am marching down the street with a chin up and a new book in my arms.

Review
“The Accidental” is a story about a family of four that is on vacation when one day a stranger named Amber comes to their household. All family members are so disconnected from each other, that nobody bothers to ask whose friend is a woman staying with them.

As a story develops we get to see how a stranger coming to their lives unfolds the deepest secrets and desires of each family member. The story also draws attention to family members being so consumed by their own problems that they are simply unaware of what others might be going through.

The book is split into 3 parts: the beginning, the middle and the end. Each part consists of 4 chapters, every of which tells a story from the perspective of each family member.

As I was reading “The Accidental”, I found it difficult to like or dislike each of the characters, as well as related to them. Nevertheless, I truly enjoyed my time reading this book (4/5 stars on Goodreads from me). I believe, that as a whole the story sends a very clear message about the complexity of relationships between the family members, and communication being a key to a better way of staying connected.