THE ACCIDENTAL by Ali Smith

PUBLISHED: 13:57 25 May 2006 | UPDATED: 10:11 06 May 2010

The Accidental

The Accidental

ASTRID and Magnus are on a boring holiday in Norfolk with their mother Eve and stepfather Michael. They are all locked in separate troubled worlds - for 12-year-old Astrid everything is substandard, for Magnus there s a dark secret while Eve is struggling

ASTRID and Magnus are on a boring holiday in Norfolk with their mother Eve and stepfather Michael. They are all locked in separate troubled worlds - for 12-year-old Astrid everything is substandard, for Magnus there's a dark secret while Eve is struggling to write her latest novel and keep her marriage to a serial philanderer intact.

Then Amber arrives. Young and beautiful, she says her car has broken down and somehow she settles into their midst. Everyone thinks she has a different reason for being there and is profoundly affected by this strange winsome creature who has come from nowhere.

Ali Smith won the Whitbread Prize for this novel last year and it's easy to see why. She steps inside the minds of the four main characters but keeps Amber as an enigma, a strange force shaking up their lives, touching and changing them all, and yet always a mystery.

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