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Tony Grist

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The Accidental: Ali Smith [Sep. 29th, 2013|02:17 pm]
Tony Grist
It's almost a genre, but maybe not quite. A mysterious stranger comes to town and transforms every life he or she touches. Works in this almost-a-genre range from Mary Poppins to Brimstone and Treacle, from An Inspector Calls to Teorema. A number of westerns- including several Clint Eastwood westerns- qualify. In Smith's treatment of the theme the angel is an ageing hippie chick and the people she turns over are a middle-class family on holiday in Norfolk. I liked the 12 year old daughter best- Smith does a grand job of getting inside her head- and the womanizing husband least- she makes him awfully soft- and has him think in verse- which is something no novelist should ever attempt. You want to lose your readers? Try tossing them a sonnet.

[User Picture]From: sovay
2013-09-30 01:24 am (UTC)
I can think of another example...I forgot its name, but it has "Chocolate" in the title, the premise is, in 50's France, a "Gypsy" woman and her daughter wander into a town, and open up a chocolate store...during LENT, of all times.

It's Chocolat (1999), by Joanne Harris. There was a film version in 2000, but it softens things; it's more of a romance and its magic is not as strong or as strange.

Edited at 2013-09-30 01:24 am (UTC)
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