To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much when I first started reading Moïra Fowley-Doyle’s The Accident Season. The plot brings up images of a really klutzy family, not some dark curse placed upon a family with secrets. To say that The Accident Season was a delightful surprise is quite the understatement. The author has such a command over her prose; the impeccable word choice makes a lacking plot shine. Her command of the English language makes up for the weirdest character interactions I’ve come across in a while.
It’s the accident season, the same time every year. Bones break, skin tears, bruises bloom. For as long as seventeen year old Cara can remember, the accident season has been a part of her life. Towards the end of October, foreshadowed by the deaths of many relatives before them, Cara’s family becomes inexplicably accident-prone. Even banishing knives to locked drawers, covering the sharp table edges with padding, and switching off electrical items cannot prevent the injuries from following them wherever they go. The accident season becomes an ever-growing obsession and fear, and an ever-growing number of questions surface: Why are they so cursed? And how can they break free?
I love that Fowley-Doyle attempts to push the boundaries of contemporary fiction and her refusal to make the story lighter to gain a larger audience. Her portrayal of the accident season as something creepy and evil truly works; The Accident Season has some of the most chilling scenes I’ve read so far this year. Its chilling quality stems in part from its simplicity, yet it also stems from Fowley-Doyle’s skill at choosing the right words to describe each scene. Her prose is truly brilliantly intoxicating, intoxicatingly brilliant.
However, this being said, the author’s characters could use a lot more work. It seems as if the Fowley-Doyle spent all her time working on the prose rather than the characterization. The characters seemed to blend together because they didn’t have any distinctive traits, yet their actions also seemed out of character, even though I still can’t say much about their characters. This contradiction ends up bringing the story down, for even brilliant prose cannot save the novel from itself.
Although The Accident Season is not the best novel in any sense of the word “best”, I still will be adding the author to the list of authors to-watch.
Rating: 6 out of 10
Publisher: Corgi Childrens (August 18th, 2015)
Length: 280 pages (Paperback)
ISBN #: 9780552571302