The Baltimore Sun

The Accidental

By Ali Smith

Amber appears on the doorstep of the Smart family's rented summer cottage in Norfolk, England, barefoot and unexpected. Eve Smart, a third-rate author suffering writer's block, believes that she is a friend of her husband's. Michael is a womanizing university professor, but he doesn't usually drag his quarry home. He thinks that she must be a friend of Eve's. Everyone is politely confused and Amber is invited to dinner. She is a consummate liar and manipulator who manages to seduce everyone in the family in some significant way. This artful effort won Britain's Whitbread Book Award and was a finalist for the Man Booker Prize.

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