Sunday, March 05, 2006

The Accidental by Ali Smith

I took a break from reading Murakami to read The Accidental (it was due back at the library sooner). I really really heart Hotel World, Smith's first novel (sad and stylish in one), and this novel is a nice move forward. More complexity, more plot, more cumulative feeling, but still with a voice and style that is fresh and semi-experimental. Smith is best at creating characters who can think in metaphor. E.g. "If Amber is a piece of broken-up jigsaw, too, Magnus thinks, then she is several pieces of blue sky still joined up." As a result the narrative voice can be quite varied since the metaphors don't come from it, but rather from the individual characters. It feels evolved out of Jeanette Winterson, but whereas at times a Winterson voice can get ultimately overbearing (see cancer chapters of Written on the Body), Smith has the luxury of being able to change-up regularly. But, of course, it only works because her story is about the kind of people who think things like the above.

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