Signed Edition Sweepstakes
 
 

Recently Viewed clear list


Original Essays | September 30, 2014

Brian Doyle: IMG The Rude Burl of Our Masks



One day when I was 12 years old and setting off on my newspaper route after school my mom said will you stop at the doctor's and pick up something... Continue »
  1. $13.27 Sale Trade Paper add to wish list

    Children and Other Wild Animals

    Brian Doyle 9780870717543

spacer
Qualifying orders ship free.
$5.95
Used Hardcover
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
1 Burnside Literature- A to Z

The Accidental: A Novel

by

The Accidental: A Novel Cover

 

Awards

2005 Whitbread Literary Awards Winner
2005 Booker Prize Nominee

The Rooster 2006 Morning News Tournament of Books Winner

Staff Pick

The Accidental, Ali Smith's dazzling new novel, explores the modern family in all its chaos, darkness, and love, using some of the most inventive prose seen in recent years. Smith's story is bewitching, her characters empathetic, and her craft impeccable. Funny, alluring, and intelligent, The Accidental is a masterful work by a marvelous writer.
Recommended by Jill Owens, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The Accidental is the virtuoso new novel by the singularly gifted Ali Smith. Jonathan Safran Foer has called her writing "thrilling." Jeanette Winterson has praised her for her "style, ideas, and punch." Here, in a novel at once profound, playful, and exhilaratingly inventive, she transfixes us with a portrait of a family unraveled by a mysterious visitor.

Amber — thirtysomething and barefoot — shows up at the door of the Norfolk cottage that the Smarts are renting for the summer. She talks her way in. She tells nothing but lies. She stays for dinner.

Eve Smart, the author of a best-selling series of biographical reconstructions, thinks Amber is a student with whom her husband, Michael, is sleeping. Michael, an English professor, knows only that her car broke down. Daughter Astrid, age twelve, thinks she's her mother?s friend. Son Magnus, age seventeen, thinks she's an angel.

As Amber insinuates herself into the family, the questions of who she is and how she's come to be there drop away. Instead, dazzled by her seeming exoticism, the Smarts begin to examine the accidents of their lives through the searing lens of Amber's perceptions. When Eve finally banishes her from the cottage, Amber disappears from their sight, but not — they discover when they return home to London — from their profoundly altered lives.

Fearlessly intelligent and written with an irresistible blend of lyricism and whimsy, The Accidental is a tour de force of literary improvisation that explores the nature of truth, the role of chance, and the transformative power of storytelling.

Review:

"While the Smarts are a happy, prosperous British family on the surface, underneath they are as friable as a Balkan republic. Eve suffers from a block about writing yet another of her popular Genuine Article books (a series of imaginary reconstructions of obscure, actual figures from the past). Michael, her English professor husband, is a philanderer whose sexual predation on his students has reached critical mass. Teenaged Magnus, Eve's son by first husband Adam, is consumed by guilt around a particularly heinous school prank. And Astrid, Eve and Adam's daughter, is a 12-year- old channeling the angst of a girl three years older. Into this family drops one Amber MacDonald, a mysterious stranger who embeds herself in the family's summer rental in Norfolk and puts them all under her bullying spell. By some collective hallucination — one into which Smith (Hotel World) utterly and completely draws the reader — each Smart sees Amber as a savior, even as she violates their codes and instincts. So sure-handed are Smith's overlapping descriptions of the same events from different viewpoints that her simple, disquieting story lifts into brilliance. When Eve finally breaks the spell and kicks Amber out, it precipitates a series of long overdue jolts that destroys the family's fraught equilibrium, but the shock of Smith's facility remains." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Ms. Smith is a wonderful ventriloquist, adept at throwing her voice into an astonishing array of characters....[S]he captures their thoughts, their dream lives, their sense of their place in the world with perfect and unwavering pitch." Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

Review:

"Smith captures the speech and thoughts of each character with a real, compassionate kind of virtuosity." San Francisco Chronicle

Review:

"[A] thoroughly charming and melodic novel." Boston Globe

Review:

"Smith is a wizard at observing and memorializing the ebb and flow of the everyday mind." New York Times Book Review

Review:

"The novel is alternately narrated by each member of the Smart family, but it is candid Astrid who steals the show, wandering through town with digital camera in hand." Booklist

Synopsis:

From the author of "Hotel World"--shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Orange Prize--comes an inventive and thought-provoking novel about a chance encounter that irrevocably changes a family's understanding of itself.

About the Author

Ali Smith is the author of six works of fiction, including the novel Hotel World, which was short?listed for both the Orange Prize and the Booker Prize in 2001 and won the Encore Award and the Scottish Arts Council Book of the Year Award in 2002. Her story collections include Free Love, which won the Saltire Society Scottish First Book Award and a Scottish Arts Council Award, and The Whole Story and Other Stories. Born in Inverness, Scotland, in 1962, Smith now lives in Cambridge, England.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780375422256
Subtitle:
A novel
Author:
Smith, Ali
Publisher:
Pantheon
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Truthfulness and falsehood
Subject:
Women biographers
Copyright:
Publication Date:
January 10, 2006
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
8.60x5.80x1.18 in. 1.09 lbs.

Other books you might like

  1. Holy Skirts: A Novel of a Flamboyant... Used Trade Paper $4.50
  2. Home Land Used Trade Paper $6.95
  3. Shalimar the Clown: A Novel
    Used Trade Paper $6.95
  4. Cotton: A Novel Used Hardcover $1.95
  5. Veronica: A Novel Used Hardcover $4.95
  6. Never Let Me Go Used Mass Market $4.50

Related Subjects

Featured Titles » Morning News Tournament » Tournament of Books 2006
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

The Accidental: A Novel Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$5.95 In Stock
Product details 320 pages Pantheon Books - English 9780375422256 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

The Accidental, Ali Smith's dazzling new novel, explores the modern family in all its chaos, darkness, and love, using some of the most inventive prose seen in recent years. Smith's story is bewitching, her characters empathetic, and her craft impeccable. Funny, alluring, and intelligent, The Accidental is a masterful work by a marvelous writer.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "While the Smarts are a happy, prosperous British family on the surface, underneath they are as friable as a Balkan republic. Eve suffers from a block about writing yet another of her popular Genuine Article books (a series of imaginary reconstructions of obscure, actual figures from the past). Michael, her English professor husband, is a philanderer whose sexual predation on his students has reached critical mass. Teenaged Magnus, Eve's son by first husband Adam, is consumed by guilt around a particularly heinous school prank. And Astrid, Eve and Adam's daughter, is a 12-year- old channeling the angst of a girl three years older. Into this family drops one Amber MacDonald, a mysterious stranger who embeds herself in the family's summer rental in Norfolk and puts them all under her bullying spell. By some collective hallucination — one into which Smith (Hotel World) utterly and completely draws the reader — each Smart sees Amber as a savior, even as she violates their codes and instincts. So sure-handed are Smith's overlapping descriptions of the same events from different viewpoints that her simple, disquieting story lifts into brilliance. When Eve finally breaks the spell and kicks Amber out, it precipitates a series of long overdue jolts that destroys the family's fraught equilibrium, but the shock of Smith's facility remains." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Ms. Smith is a wonderful ventriloquist, adept at throwing her voice into an astonishing array of characters....[S]he captures their thoughts, their dream lives, their sense of their place in the world with perfect and unwavering pitch."
"Review" by , "Smith captures the speech and thoughts of each character with a real, compassionate kind of virtuosity."
"Review" by , "[A] thoroughly charming and melodic novel."
"Review" by , "Smith is a wizard at observing and memorializing the ebb and flow of the everyday mind."
"Review" by , "The novel is alternately narrated by each member of the Smart family, but it is candid Astrid who steals the show, wandering through town with digital camera in hand."
"Synopsis" by , From the author of "Hotel World"--shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Orange Prize--comes an inventive and thought-provoking novel about a chance encounter that irrevocably changes a family's understanding of itself.
spacer
spacer
  • back to top
Follow us on...




Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.