From the very first page of The Accidental, the reader is drawn into a very unique and curious story. Exploring families and the accidental moments that take them into situations they would never have chosen, this tale of what happens to one family while on holiday in Norfolk had me guessing, wondering, and finally accepting that sometimes there are no answers. Just as there may be alternate explanations, journeys, and selves that characterize the world described in these pages.
First we see events from the point of view of Amber, a mysterious woman conceived in an Alhambra Theater in 1968. Next we explore the inner world of a twelve-year-old girl named Astrid, enchanted by the exterior surroundings through her camera lens.
Alternately we see other family members: the stepfather Michael, Eve the mother, and Magnus the son. They all perceive the events of the summer, with the insinuating presence of the “uninvited guest” Amber, in varying ways. Because the individuals seemingly do not communicate effectively to one another, there is a great deal of confusion about how and why Amber is suddenly staying in the house.
Was it an accident, though? Or was there a darker, deeper reason for the events that unfolded? And how did everything finally implode for them all?
In the aftermath, as each individual examines the broken pieces, we continue to ponder the meaning of it all. Definitely an unusual story that the reader can explain for himself/herself–or not explain at all. The meaning behind it all may not be the most important part. Four stars for this brilliant, award-winning book that actually left me feeling a bit frustrated, but also exhilarated.