May 27, 2006
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The Accidental

by Ali Smith

In this interesting and amusing bagatelle, a London family vacationing in Norfolk finds that a young woman has walked into their vacation house and made herself at home on their sofa. Eve, a popular writer married to an English Professor, assumes that she's one of her husband Michael's students and that, moreover, that they're having an affair. Eve resolves to be very, very nice to her. Michael assumes that she's something to do with her publicity department. Michael wants to please her and cooks her his best chocolate pears. The teenage kids, of course, find her fascinating.

It's an interesting formal experiment with five points of view, five very distinct voices, and lots of opportunity for Ali Smith to turn writerly handsprings. At times, I found myself watching the acrobatics when I should have been thinking about Eve and Michael. But it's all show business in the end, and the show is good.