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The Accidental
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message 1: by Pip (new) - rated it 4 stars

Pip | 1483 comments It wasn't until I had finished this book that I realised that I had read another of her books There but for the a couple of years ago. It had a similar premise: someone unknown to a family moves in and disrupts their lives. Its title is similarly quirky, an unfinished sentence. I really enjoy her writing style. This book too, has four different voices, no five, actually, if the commentary, presumably by the disrupter herself, is counted. The Accidental was written first, in 2005, describing a story set two years earlier. Many of the topical issues mentioned are shocking to remember, such as the atrocities at Abu Ghraib. I love the way that Smith alludes to these events without actually naming them. She does the same with movies and popular songs, so you have to have some background in popular culture to understand the references. And they are deliciously described. A main premise of the novel is the question, what is truth? How topical can one get! Another is issues which we would now call the #MeToo movement. In Now But For The the main theme is celebrity. So Smith is right on the button about what things are of interest to the reader today. It seems all of her books have had prestigious recognition. I look forward to reading more.

Kristel (kristelh) | 4265 comments Mod
Read 2016
A story of broken people; Eve the mother who is having writer's block, Michael her second husband who is sleeping with his students, Magnus who is suffering from guilt for his part in teasing. Amber walks into the home where the family is living on a working vacation (for the mother). No one questions her presence and she messes with all of their minds. The problem of poor communication allows this stranger to insert herself into their life. I didn't like the story much but was intrigued by the story idea. There was too much gutter talk in the dialogue which is probably stream of conscious. There is a lot of pornography reference and even too much pornography description which I think could have been omitted and still got the idea across.

Amanda Dawn | 1251 comments This was a good, quick read for me and I gave it 3 stars. I had no real objections to it, but wasn’t extremely attached to it or fascinated by it either. However, I really did like the ambiguity of whether Amber represents a positive force in the family’s life or not in how they maybe need to be exposed for their trespasses/stripped of the artifice of their lives. I also liked the ending with Eve and how it seems to propagate the narrative forward. I wasn’t entirely sure about the recurring motif of Amber and the Alhambra/movie theatre and how that fit into the themes of the narrative though.

Jamie Barringer (Ravenmount) (ravenmount) | 481 comments I loved There but for the, and I liked this book too, but not quite as much. Some of the symbolism and pop cultural references were lost on me, I think, and I had a hard time relating to the characters in this one. I gave this book 4 stars on Goodreads.

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