Van has finished reading…The Accidental by Ali Smith

2 Oct

Writers play God. Every day. It may be done quite strictly, lives mapped out and then rendered with specific intention. It may be that some level of freedom has been allowed in the shaping of a character’s life; a dialogue has taken place – the character ‘speaks’ to its creator. But even there, once the draft is in place, the writer returns and shapes events, makes history, twists the fabric of that life to suit their own end. There is nothing accidental about fiction.

  Yet these characters question – as they must – their involvement in the tale. Why me, why now? Surely it’s fate; or God’s plan; perhaps the stars… In our own turn as readers we pose the same questions, though it’s the author’s intention we probe – that solipsism’s own deity.

Ali Smith’s prose is like fine-grained sandpaper. How smooth it is, how easily it flows. Before you know it there’s the sensuous smell of fresh wood and the feel of the shavings. It keeps you rubbing until you suddenly discover yourself up to your knees in the scurf of it – and there’s a whole new layer you never knew was there.

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