Genre: YA, Magical Realism
Publisher: Corgi Childrens
It's the accident season, the same time every year. Bones break, skin tears, bruises bloom.
The accident season has been part of seventeen-year-old Cara's life for as long as she can remember. Towards the end of October, foreshadowed by the deaths of many relatives before them, Cara's family becomes inexplicably accident-prone. They banish knives to locked drawers, cover sharp table edges with padding, switch off electrical items - but injuries follow wherever they go, and the accident season becomes an ever-growing obsession and fear.
But why are they so cursed? And how can they break free?
This novel is flawless.
I feel like Moira Fowley-Doyle grabbed my hand tight and led me through the darkest shadows of myself to rediscover the wild part of my soul. Reading The Accident Season made me feel alive – it was like she wove a spell through her words that made me want to read and live recklessly. All at once, I wanted to run outside and look for the magic in the world, because finishing her novel helped me to believe it was out there somewhere.
No other book has made me feel that way in a very long time.
Darkness seems to pulse through Fowley-Doyle’s characters. They are dangerous, they are broken, but they’re also so real. They are lost, tearing up their own lives in a misguided attempt to find their place in the world. Although Cara narrates the entire novel, I felt as though I knew each and every character personally, and in part that’s what made this novel so utterly haunting. Charming, wild Bea who radiates energy and fire; calculating Alice whose past clutches onto her present; quiet Sam, afraid of himself and hiding in the shadows; and Cara, who chases after nightmares. And their relationship is also just brilliant. Despite their striking differences and individual problems, they never fail to link arms and march on through their pain.
Oh, and the pain they suffer through… Cara, Sam, Alice and their mother Melanie become accident-prone every October. Nobody understands why, but the accident season can be deadly, and this time Bea’s tarot cards have predicted an outcome even worse than the usual cuts, bruises and broken bones. Initially, I found this premise enthralling, but the author weaves in contemporary, mysterious and paranormal features that made my head spin in the best way possible. I’d never delved into Magical Realism as a genre before, but it’s delightfully bizarre – a dark and twisted reality is created by treating magical occurrences as the norm. Cara catches glimpses of her own imaginings in the real world, but the author writes as though they are actually there. Paranormal creatures come out to play in the dark of the night, but while they could simply be metaphors there’s a suggestion they’re real. The effect is exhilarating.
But The Accident Season becomes a masterpiece because of its author’s writing style. The experience of reading it was simply intoxicating – I felt like I was drunk on a magical concoction of sadness and ethereal beauty. The story flowed as smoothly yet wildly as dancers in a trance. There’s really no other way to describe it. Fowley-Doyle’s words are raw with emotion, tumbling across the page recklessly and effortlessly, but simultaneously stunning in its poetic imagery. “Singed, singe, sing, sang, song. Our pain is a song. It opens us out and drops pebbles of truth inside us and then it sews us back up again.”
The Accident Season is wonderfully weird, with equal parts creepiness and beauty woven into its storyline. Moira Fowley-Doyle’s writing is wildly addictive, and I can’t wait to read her next novel.
Recommended to: Readers with a forgotten dark side.
The Last Word
I don’t know how this book doesn’t have a five-star average rating on Goodreads. It’s one of those novels I’m going to force all my friends to read. I’ll probably reread a billion times. It’s absolutely incredible.
I mean, look at this:
“Rain falls on the keys like it’s going to type out its own secrets. I would read them aloud but I don’t speak the language of the rain. I’m not even sure I can understand the river any more. It roars on beside me but it doesn’t whisper my secrets back at me, and it doesn’t call my name. Maybe it never really did.”