The Compulsive Reader: The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle


In case you didn't know, or you were avoiding the fact.

I love fall. I love the leaves, and I like sweaters and I like boots and tea and pumpkin everything. And I love fall because I get look at the changing leaves and wear the sweaters and boots and drink all the tea and eat everything pumpkin while reading moody, creepy books like this one.

Cara Morris and her family have always feared October. October is the accident season. Bad things, unavoidable things happen then. It starts with small accidents--paper cuts, ripped clothing--and escalates to broken bones and major injuries. Sometimes, people die. Cara, her older sister Alice, her ex-stepbrother Sam are just hoping to get through this one without losing another loved one, but when Cara's best friend Bea predicts that this accident season will be the worst yet, Cara becomes intent on finding the reason behind it all.

This is the sort of book that totally sold itself to me based solely on the premise of an accident season. I can't stress enough how much that appealed to me and intrigued me, and yes, I realize how dark that sounds. But compelling premise aside, the characters in this novel are all deeply fascinating to me. Cara, Alice, and Sam have each experienced terrible loss, but they never talk about it directly. They're incredibly close, and yet they struggle to acknowledge what's right in front of them.  The weight of all the things they don't say to each other generations very subtle but genuine tension that adds to the unsettling atmosphere of the book, and Fowley-Doyle withholds just the right amount of information and delivers it at just the right time for maximum impact on the story.

The writing is also lovely, and the elegance of the the language makes me want to classify this novel as magical realism rather than supernatural. Although there is talk of ghosts and hauntings and changelings and tarot cards are read, this story feels very grounded in reality and the accident season is such an integral part of these characters' lives and identities. The question of what is real and what is fantasy, and how we remember the past is a big part of the mystery of the novel, and the conclusions that the characters came to were surprising, but also very fitting for the story. It's difficult to categorize this book--it's part mystery, part family story, part romance, part ghost story. It's original and memorable, and it's definitely going to be my number-one spooky October pick this year.

Book acquired from my indie.

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