The Accidental is a 2005 novel by Scottish author Ali Smith. It follows a middle-class English family who are visited by an uninvited guest, Amber, while they are on holiday in a small village in Norfolk. Amber's arrival has a profound effect on all the family members. Eventually she is cast out the house by the mother, Eve. But the consequences of her appearance continue even after the family has returned home to London.
The novel was received positively by critics. Jennifer Reese of the American magazine Entertainment Weekly praised the book, writing that "while The Accidental does not add up to much more than a clever stunt, Smith pulls it off with terrific pizzazz." The novel was shortlisted for the Orange Prize, the Man Booker Prize and James Tait Black Memorial Prize, and it won the Whitbread Award.
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