December 2, 2023 | Rome, Italy

The Accidental

By |2018-03-21T18:27:21+01:00November 1st, 2006|Recent Reviews|

By Ali Smith

Penguin, 2006. 320 pages.


ne day a mysterious visitor arrives. In Smith’s latest book, this archetypal fable features roughly beautiful Amber, short for the old Alhambra movie house of celluloid dreams where she was conceived.

But who is this thirty-ish woman? Barefoot angel, common thief, or demonic intruder? For the English upper middle class (too-) Smart family whose bleak vacation home she enters, Amber’s all of this, and a catalyst. Through her eyes they re-view the world, from their own infinite private deceits to global policy deceptions broadcast by network talking heads. Amber’s reality take saves young Astrid and Magnus from suicide and despair, but razes Eve and Michael’s adult lie-lives to zero.

Charged by lightening prose variations, this five-narrative-view is a strong, compelling read, to the end, which is both plot shock and not. It reminds that tales each have a close, while the fable within goes on.

About the Author:

Former Rabelais scholar Patricia Fogarty honed her skills in the New York City publishing world. She lives in Rome and has been the magazine's book columnist for a decade.