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The Accidental - Characters (inc Spoilers)


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katrina 9th May 2006 09:47 PM

Characters incl spoilers

Which characters did you like/dislike?

I really liked the son Magnus, especially as early on he was the first charcter that willed me on to keep reading. Didn't approve of the sex in the church though (and I'm not particuarly religious).

As a family they were so lost and so naive, I wanted to bash their heads together so many times.
Why didn't Eve leave Michael?
What was so attractive about Michael?
Why did he feel the need to mess around? And expect to get away with it?
Why were the kids so neglected when they were obviously calling out for help and attention?
Oh and how could Eve accept her son was sleeping with a much older lady and not raise an eyelid?

I felt they deserved what they got in the end, didn't understand why Eve left her kids with an obviously uninterested step father when all their lives were in turmoil either.

(See I was left with lots of questions! left me feeling = :thinking::mad::confused: ) and withquite a headache. I suppose books are their to provoke reaction

Mungus 10th May 2006 10:42 PM

Originally Posted by katrina

This to me was the central flaw in the whole story. We've all been brought up in families and how many of our families would have let some woman move in and take over in this way. Just rubbish!

As I've said previously, I read this book a while back and felt absolutely no need to pick it up again to join in with these dicussions (I'm sure you can all understand why) so I can't offer much in the way of insight. All so forgettable.

Quite why this novel has been so acclaimed is beyond me, but Ali Smith's first novel Hotel World was equally well received and IMO totally impossible to read.

Momo 10th May 2006 11:13 PM

The question is not really why they let a stranger into the house but how could a stranger end up getting there and they didn't think she was a stranger. Everybody thought one of the others knew her. Did they really trust each other that little.
We live far away from our family and moved so much over the years that we have friends all over the world. Which means we often have guests over to stay, sometimes for a day, sometimes for a couple of weeks. We have had an exchange student stay for six months, all these kind of things people do. We have even heard the question whether we run a bed & breakfast (sometimes it feels that way). We have even accepted friends of our friends into our house when they were in the area. But never - ever - have we not been aware of where that person (or those persons) came from and how we knew them.
So, the reason the stranger could get into the house like that was that there was really no communication or trust in that so-called family. I didn't see one. That's my opinion.

donnae 10th May 2006 11:42 PM

Why did Michael have to be the same old stereotypical University lecturer that is always having affairs with his students??? I was glad he got caught out in the end. He didn't really seem to have an awful lot going for him. I don't suppose Eve is the only woman in a relationship like this though and accepting it. She obviously saw him as an improvement on the "shop boy" Adam.

I didn't pick up that Eve knew Magnus was sleeping with Amber. I thought it only happened in the loft and the church (strange?!?!) and that no-one else in the family knew it was happening.

I think Astrid and Magnus were the most likeable characters, perhaps because they are younger and open to change, but then also more malleable by Amber.

Amber is a very strange character. She is obviously a catalyst of some sort, (I am glad she saved Magnus) but I expected there to be a more of a link between her and the family. This would at least have made it a bit more understandable as to why she was allowed in! Was her story true about killing the child - or is that another story from a film? Why did she steal the contents of their house (if it was her)?? Did she see it as giving the family a clean slate to start with or did she want some new door knobs??

When Eve is in America, and the process seems to be being repeated, it felt as if Smith was trying to justify that if a second family could take a "stranger" in, that the situation with Amber wouldn't be so unbelievable.

I wanted to know more about Eve's parents. I felt there should have more information about them or not included them. The ending felt rushed.

Momo 11th May 2006 02:09 PM

Originally Posted by donnae
The ending felt rushed.

What ending? ;)

Hazel 11th May 2006

I think the family latched onto Amber because they were so repelled by themselves, and she was different, not a family member, and therefore easier to embrace and latch on to. I disliked everyone in this book apart from Magnus. He seemed like the only real person -the rest were characterless, stereotypical, plot devices with which the 'magic up' a story. The only feeling I have now about this book, is guilt as I sold some poor sucker it on Greenmetropolis - hope it wasn't anyone on BGO - and they enjoy it more than I did.

katrina 11th May 2006 05:05 PM

I didn't pick up that Eve knew Magnus was sleeping with Amber. I thought it only happened in the loft and the church (strange?!?!) and that no-one else in the family knew it was happening.

They knew something was going on:

"When they got home, she walked straight in on Amber in the lounge with what looked like one hand on Magnus's crotch. Magnus stood up.
It's all right, Amber said. He's legally of age. "

So I guess they could figure out the rest, this happens just before Eve throws Amber out, so it may actually have been a factor, although I seemed to get the feeling that Eve threw her out because she realised she was loosing her family

Momo 12th May 2006 01:47 PM

I don't think Eve threw out Amber because she knew about Marcus. I don't think she knew at all why Amber was there and what else she did. That might have been her reason, realizing she was taken advantage of. Though I am not sure about that either. I'm not sure about a lot in the book, and that's not because it is all written a little too cleverly, more because it isn't written at all.

Flingo 27th May 2006 11:14 PM

I don't think I particularly liked any of the characters, although I can almost understand the attraction of Michael to his students.

Meg said elsewhere that she felt uncomfortable in the characters minds, and I think thats how I felt. None of the characters felt quite plausible enough to be real and, therefore for me, were unlikeable.


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