The Dog Doesn’t Die

Book reviews & random thoughts

Does the Dog Die? A Brief Review of The Accidental, by Ali Smith

This intriguing book took a while to pull me in, in part because Smith used four distinct narrators — and counting the prologue and final chapter, she used five — and began with the weakest one. But this story of how each member of a nuclear family responds to a stranger in their midst did eventually capture my imagination, to the point where I continued thinking about the several days after I finished reading it. (The back cover blurb referencing a “startling, wonderfully enigmatic conclusion” is quite accurate.)

In the story, a young woman named Amber enters the summer home of the Smart family: Eve, Michael, teenaged Magnus, and 12-year-old Astrid. Eve thinks Amber is yet another student Michael is messing around with on the side; Michael thinks she’s a business associate of Eve’s; Magnus thinks with his hormones; and Astrid is simply in over her head. What does Amber want, and why is she there? Why is she accepted so blindly by the Smarts? These and other questions may or may not be answered, but it’s an interesting journey regardless. As for the outcome, the ending almost made me reread the entire book. But I didn’t — not yet, at least. I do recommend the book, but please be patient at the beginning. It’s worth it, but you may spend a number of pages wondering about that.

As for animals, this book is SAFE for animal lovers. There is an unspecified dead thing that gets Astrid’s attention, some unpleasant facts about bees are revealed, and a few fleeting odds and ends, nothing more.

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November 20, 2008 - Posted by | animals, Book Reviews, literature | , ,

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