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The Accidental by [Smith, Ali]
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The Accidental Kindle Edition

2.9 out of 5 stars 128 customer reviews

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Length: 322 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Description

Review

A beguiling page-turner ... a brilliant creation. To read The Accidental is to be excited from first to last (Independent)

Brilliant and engaging, frequently hilarious, exhilaratingly sharp-eyed . . . Smith makes one look at the world afresh (Sunday Telegraph)

Joyous, a shot across the bows . . . writing as rapture, as giddy delight (The Times)

An astonishing book - funny and moving, playful and shocking. It is what one hopes for in a modern novel, and yet it confounds all expectations. It is complex. It is beautiful. It is exhilarating. It is fiction at its most artful (Financial Times)

Smith's novels fizz with pyrotechnic prose, whirl-wind openings, bewitching invention (Observer)

Exuberantly inventive ... at once dazzlingly bright and profoundly dark (Sunday Times)

Review

"Astonishing. . . . Vivid and affecting. . . . Wonderfully supple, jazzy." -"The New York Times"
"Persistently sparkling pages...of startling and clarifying emotional power. . . . It casts a spell." --"The Atlantic Monthly"
"Completely captivating. . . . Thoroughly charming and melodic. . . .Devilishly lovely." --"The Boston Globe"
"Beautifully executed. . . . A few pages [in] and you begin to remember how much fun it is to put yourself in the hands of a skilled, majestically confident writer. . . . Delightful."
--"The New York Observer"
"Brims with wit, humor, and energy." --"The Christian Science Monitor"

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 951 KB
  • Print Length: 322 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (2 Aug. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008BD6RRI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars 128 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #68,703 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
As the title of this review suggests, my feelings about this novel are complex and I don't think I can adequately answer the question I have posed myself. There are moments of pure genius within this text - pieces of narrative that literally sweep you up with their ingenuity. Smith certainly excels when utilising her own unique stream of consciousness style and this alone makes the book worth reading. I also found the structure satisfying, with the sense of full circle achieved at the end. What lets this text down is the occasional sense that it is just trying to be that little bit too clever, a little bit too self aware of its status as a story telling medium. Three stars may be a little harsh - three and a half more accurate. I would certainly recommend this to anyone who enjoys an author unafraid to play with the novel genre but prepare to feel a little disappointed. This feels like the work of an author on the way to greatness but not quite there yet.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Initially I stopped reading this book about 3 chapters in but then after a couple of weeks I was suffering from bad insomnia and thought it might help me sleep. It did. By about halfway through I'd decided I wanted to review it so I knew I needed to finish it, as I don't believe it is fair to review a book if you haven't finished it!

The chapters alternate, each chapter being voiced by either the mother, step father, the daughter or the son. There are also two chapters voiced by Amber the interloper. Her chapters are quite frankly not worth reading, they add nothing to the story and tell you nothing about her character other than she quite possibly may be a schizophrenic.

For some reason which I am sure the publisher and droves of 'serious reviewers' must understand and believe to be very clever, the author believed herself to be above the rules of English grammar and so you have to muddle through with no speech marks; which frankly is just really tiring on the eyes and somewhat frustrating, also some chapters start mid-sentence.

Apart from this, the story, which could be an interesting depiction of a nuclear family, goes nowhere. It literally just ends. Weird things happen, with no reason. Nothing is concluded. As for all the rave reviews and prize winning nominations? I can only presume, that like the emperor with no clothes, there are a lot of pretentious 'literary' types feeling very 'smart', while the rest of us laugh at them for being sucked in!
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Format: Paperback
I don't write that many Amazon reviews but given some of the negative ones for this book, I had to. Personally, I thought the book was absolutely brilliant and, as others have said, the change in narrative tone depends on who's doing the narrating. As for Michael, he was a fantastic comic figure, especially in his middle section, the one written in verse. I take my hat off to Ali Smith for being able to move between prose and poerty in that way, but for anyone who doesn't like poetry, you can read it just as prose. It works that way, too.

The reason for four rather than five stars is the slightly disappointing ending. Although we don't really need to know who Amber really is, the three passages about her do suggest there are clues to her identity and it would have been nice to know what that identity was. And while I had no problem with Eve in the States, the suggestion that she might be going to retsart the whole cycle was a little silly: the point about Amber was that she was totally unique.

This is clearly one of those novels, though, that people either love or hate and to be honest I can't imagine haiting it. It's frequently called pretentious, too, which I didn't think it was at all (and I loathe McEwan et al for their pretension.) I hope to read a good deal more of her work.
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By Ripple TOP 500 REVIEWER on 9 Mar. 2007
Format: Paperback
This book seems to have divided reviewers into love it or hate it camps. I am afraid that I don't think it is either genius or rubbish. It's simply an interesting book that is not without its flaws, but it is quite thought provoking without being profound. There is nice variation in the character voices - particularly of the daugher - and the premise is while not exactly unique, at least unusual. I suspect that because it doesn't spell everything out and lets the reader do some of the work that this is why it causes such diversity of opinions and I have to say I quite like books that continue to ask questions even when you've finished it. I'd give it 3and a half if I could - I'm glad I read it and would happily recommend to others, but I won't be rushing to re read it.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Ali Smith's The Accidental is bold, playful, exuberant, and with its opening chapter about the very accident of conception itself - one egg, the possibility offered by a myriad spermatozoa, bursting vibrantly and provocatively into introducing the protagonist from - where, heaven?, hell? the here and now? - it reminded me not a little of Kate Atkinson's first novel, Behind The Scenes At The Museum.

The title of Smith's book is of course mocking and, `Yeah, Right!' because the whole tenor of the book decries `the accident'. The mysterious agent-provocateur, Amber/Alhambra, whose conception, in the café of an Alhambra cinema is detailed at the start, will enter the lives of a fairly ordinary family, in the guise of a saviour to some, and as some kind of devastating Kali figure to others, whose trail of destruction forces changes and awakening on them. Everything they are, everything that happens, came from their natures and their choices, not from `accident'

But enough of this elusive waffle, what is the outline of this book

A family of 4, Michael, University lecturer in the English Department, serial philanderer. His wife, Eve, a successful genre writer in a kind of `invented biography' field, taking the lives of real people who died early and inventing longer lives for them. Eve's children: Magnus, 17, highly intelligent, falling dangerously apart, after his unwitting but still culpable involvement in a piece of Facebook flamery causes a classmate to kill herself. And finally, lastly, but absolutely not leastly,12 year old Astrid.
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