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Fowley-Doyle, Moira: The Accident Season.

Fowley-Doyle, Moira

The Accident Season

Corgi, 2015, pp288, 7.99[pounds sterling]

978 0 552 57130 2

This is an original and haunting novel about haunted people, but its content is so variously challenging and disturbing that I would recommend it, even in days of streetwise teenagers, only to the same age-group as its characters, namely sixteen and over.

The accident season is the month of October, up to Hallowe'en, and every year the narrator Cara Morris and her family run the gauntlet in this month of unexplained accidents, injuries, and even deaths. The novel is partly a ghost story, involving a mysterious and untraceable teenage girl called Elsie, a group of changelings whose lives echo those of Cara's family and her best friend Bea, and uncanny happenings which partly remain a mystery even when it finally becomes clear that some of the 'accidents' were not accidents at all.

Amid this atmosphere of mystery and danger this is also a realistic story of late teenage life in a small Irish town somewhere near Galway. Cara's chief emotional ordeal is her reciprocated passion for her ex-stepbrother, Sam. Since Sam's father was divorced and expelled by Cara's mother, the two have lived as siblings, repressing their love as incestuous even though they are not blood relatives. Meanwhile Cara's sister Alice has a violent relationship, involving bondage, with the older Nick, before switching to a same-sex love for Bea. And beneath all the family's secrets and pretences lies an ugly story of child abuse by Sam's nowbanished father (further evidence of how deeply recent history has touched the youth of present-day Ireland). Cara and her siblings and friends live a life of cigarettes, whiskey, and wild adolescence while these dark undercurrents flow, and threaten to drown them.

This is an impressive and daring first novel. But just as much where it is discreet as where it is graphic, it asks for readers at least as mature as its characters.

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Author:Hollindale, Peter
Publication:School Librarian
Article Type:Book review
Date:Jun 22, 2015
Words:326
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