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The Accidentals: A Novel

The Accidentals: A Novel

Geschrieben von Minrose Gwin

Erzählt von Cassandra Campbell


The Accidentals: A Novel

Geschrieben von Minrose Gwin

Erzählt von Cassandra Campbell

Bewertungen:
3.5/5 (10 Bewertungen)
Länge:
12 Stunden
Herausgeber:
Freigegeben:
Aug 13, 2019
ISBN:
9780062934383
Format:
Hörbuch

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Beschreibung

Following the death of their mother from a botched backwoods abortion, the McAlister daughters have to cope with the ripple effect of this tragedy as they come of age in 1950s Mississippi and then grow up to face their own impossible choices — an unforgettable, beautiful novel that is threaded throughout with the stories of mothers and daughters in pre-Roe versus Wade America.

Life heads down back alleys, takes sharp left turns. Then, one fine day it jumps the track and crashes.”

In the fall of 1957, Olivia McAlister is living in Opelika, Mississippi, caring for her two girls, June and Grace, and her husband, Holly. She dreams of living a much larger life — seeing the world and returning to her wartime job at a landing boat factory in New Orleans. As she watches over the birds in her yard, Olivia feels like an “accidental” — a migratory bird blown off course.

When Olivia becomes pregnant again, she makes a fateful decision, compelling Grace, June, and Holly to cope in different ways. While their father digs up the backyard to build a bomb shelter, desperate to protect his family, Olivia’s spinster sister tries to take them all under her wing. But the impact of Olivia’s decision reverberates throughout Grace’s and June’s lives. Grace, caught up in an unconventional love affair, becomes one of the “girls who went away” to have a baby in secret. June, guilt-ridden for her part in exposing Grace’s pregnancy, eventually makes an unhappy marriage. Meanwhile Ed Mae Johnson, an African-American care worker in a New Orleans orphanage, is drastically impacted by Grace’s choices.

As the years go by, their lives intersect in ways that reflect the unpredictable nature of bird flight that lands in accidental locations — and the consolations of imperfect return.

Filled with tragedy, humor, joy, and the indomitable strength of women facing the constricted spaces of the 1950s and 60s, The Accidentals is a poignant, timely novel that reminds us of the hope and consolation that can be found in unexpected landings.

Herausgeber:
Freigegeben:
Aug 13, 2019
ISBN:
9780062934383
Format:
Hörbuch

Auch als verfügbar...

Auch als buch verfügbarBuch


Über den Autor

Minrose Gwin is the author of three novels: The Queen of Palmyra, Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers pick and finalist for the John Gardner Fiction Book Award; Promise, finalist for the Willie Morris Award in Southern Literature; and The Accidentals.  In her memoir, Wishing for Snow, she writes about the convergence of poetry and psychosis in her mother’s life. Wearing another hat, she has written four books of literary and cultural criticism and history, most recently Remembering Medgar Evers: Writing the Long Civil Rights Movement, and coedited The Literature of the American South, a Norton anthology. Minrose began her career as a newspaper reporter. Since then, she has taught as a professor at universities across the country, most recently the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She currently lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Like the characters in Promise, she grew up in Tupelo, Mississippi.      

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  • (4/5)
    The Accidentals appealed to me for a number of reasons, the most important being how much I loved Ms. Gwin’s book, Promise. The title refers in it’s official definition to birds that appear where they don’t belong – rather like the blue jays we had visiting here in Montana in the winter of 2018.We are nowhere near a blue jays normal range but we truly enjoyed their visits. In the more abstract sense accidentals are people that are out of place. I don’t know about you but I have felt like a bit of an accidental at various times in my life.While there are men that play vital roles in this book it is a story that belongs to the women. Olivia is living with her husband Holly, and two daughters June and Grace, in a very small town in Mississippi. Her life revolves around taking care of them and she is feeling very stifled. Her husband does not appreciate her and feels a real lack since she has not given him a son. He has been waiting for his boy to arrive since he dreamed of him during the war. As with many women post WWII Olivia has gone from working and feeling fulfilled and needed to being sent home and told that the men are back now so the women need to go back to being housewives.Olivia wants more out of life but finds herself pregnant. She makes a decision that will impact her family in ways she could not have imagined. It sets off a series of events that has one daughter making bad decisions, another making a bad marriage and Olivia’s sister trying to take her place.I can’t get too far into the plot or it will give it all away. It’s not a simple story and it does require some attention. But that is also what makes it worth reading. It’s complicated but not overwhelming. There are quite a few moving parts and while they all do eventually come together it does feel a little rushed at the end. I almost with that the book were a little longer so that it could have played out a little more fully.Ms. Gwin has a magical writing style even when telling of difficult things like abortion, war, teenage pregnancy and the unfairness in life. I can’t say I liked this book as much as I loved Promise but it is still a very worthwhile read for the well constructed characters and challenging plot.
  • (3/5)
    One decision has the power to send a life off course. A big enough decision can send several lives off course. When birds spin out of their usual habitats or migratory paths, they are called accidentals. But people too can be accidentals, out of place and alone, as are the characters in Minrose Gwin's newest novel, The Accidentals.In 1957 rural Mississippi, about an hour from New Orleans, Olivia McAlister finds herself pregnant again. Already depressed and stifled by her very constrained and prescribed life as a wife and mother, she who had grown up in New Orleans and worked during WWII, Olivia cannot go through with another pregnancy and so she makes the fateful decision to have a backwoods abortion. This decision will reverberate in her family's life for decades, leaving her husband reeling, her daughters motherless and adrift, and will eventually touch the lives of those completely unrelated to her. This botched abortion sets off a chain of events that feels both inevitable and deeply sad.Grace and June are Olivia's daughters and they are forever marked by their mother's decision, leading them to make their own fateful choices. The chapter narration switches back and forth, mostly between Grace and June but also including the first chapter from Olivia, chapters from their father Holly, and from Ed Mae, a black woman working in an orphanage for white babies, and Fred the Ambulance Driver, who responds to a call from that orphanage. The very disparate voices allow Gwin to both tell aspects of the story that Grace and June couldn't possibly know without forcing information where it doesn't belong and to show how each decision in one life ripples out and affects others seemingly unconnected. The novel takes on a plethora of social issues: abortion, teenage pregnancy, adoption, homosexuality, racism, opportunities for women, and so much more as it spins through some of the major events (the moon landing, the Cuban Missile Crisis, Vietnam, the Challenger disaster, and Obama's first presidential campaign to name a few) of the second half of the twentieth century and into the present. The novel has an air of deep, pervading sorrow weaving through it, a story of lives lived out of place and alone. It moves slowly through Grace and June's early lives but then picks up speed and races through their adulthood, skipping quickly through large swathes of time, sometimes leaving the reader a little confused as to just where the story stands in time. The pacing is uneven and the ending is both too tidy and out of keeping with the rest of the novel. Despite this, the writing is beautiful and it is clear that Gwin is talented, if perhaps a little lost at the end. Her McAlisters are a family broken by their mother's death, young women who continue to cycle through feelings of betrayal and a desire for forgiveness throughout the years, never quite regaining their closeness but always remaining tied to each other, no matter how loosely.
  • (4/5)
    This is a beautifully written novel about a family in the South from the 1950s to present day. It's full of love, betrayal, redemption and forgiveness within this family over the years. It is about history as disparate as the space race, the atomic bomb, women's reproductive rights, civil rights, women's rights and animal cruelty ... sounds like a lot of ground to cover but it is all fits well into the story lines. This is my first book by this author but because of the beautiful writing in this book, I intend to check out some of her earlier books.This is a beautiful well written novel with two very strong female characters who are terribly flawed by what happened to their mother but try to live their lives as normally as possible during time periods that didn't give women much freedom in their lives about how to live their lives to its full potential.Thanks to the publisher for a copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own.
  • (2/5)
    It was the blurb of The Accidentals that caught my attention, promising a generational story focused primarily on two sisters, June and Grace McAlister, beginning in the 1950’s with the death of their mother, Olivia, from a botched backyard abortion.I liked the first quarter of this novel, which concentrated on the sisters’ child and teen years after the loss of their mother, and feel that had Gwin kept this her focus, I would have been quite satisfied. Unfortunately I soon began to feel that the characters became passengers, rather than agents, of the story. The author seemed determined to make reference to every topical social issue possible, including but not limited to, homosexuality, abortion, teen pregnancy, racism, ‘passing’, mental illness, gender inequality, Alzheimers, cancer, the rights of felons to vote, as well as touching on major cultural events such as WWII, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Challenger Disaster, and Obama’s Inaugural Presidential Run. As such, much like the birds - the ‘accidental’s’ that lose their way = so too does this story.Which is a shame, because it’s clear that Gwin can write, and there was a lot of good here. It’s an emotionally charged novel, perhaps bleaker than I was expecting, but also often moving and sincere.I didn’t dislike The Accidental’s, it just didn’t quite work for me, but it may well work for you.
  • (4/5)
    The Accidentals appealed to me for a number of reasons, the most important being how much I loved Ms. Gwin’s book, Promise. The title refers in it’s official definition to birds that appear where they don’t belong – rather like the blue jays we had visiting here in Montana in the winter of 2018.We are nowhere near a blue jays normal range but we truly enjoyed their visits. In the more abstract sense accidentals are people that are out of place. I don’t know about you but I have felt like a bit of an accidental at various times in my life.While there are men that play vital roles in this book it is a story that belongs to the women. Olivia is living with her husband Holly, and two daughters June and Grace, in a very small town in Mississippi. Her life revolves around taking care of them and she is feeling very stifled. Her husband does not appreciate her and feels a real lack since she has not given him a son. He has been waiting for his boy to arrive since he dreamed of him during the war. As with many women post WWII Olivia has gone from working and feeling fulfilled and needed to being sent home and told that the men are back now so the women need to go back to being housewives.Olivia wants more out of life but finds herself pregnant. She makes a decision that will impact her family in ways she could not have imagined. It sets off a series of events that has one daughter making bad decisions, another making a bad marriage and Olivia’s sister trying to take her place.I can’t get too far into the plot or it will give it all away. It’s not a simple story and it does require some attention. But that is also what makes it worth reading. It’s complicated but not overwhelming. There are quite a few moving parts and while they all do eventually come together it does feel a little rushed at the end. I almost with that the book were a little longer so that it could have played out a little more fully.Ms. Gwin has a magical writing style even when telling of difficult things like abortion, war, teenage pregnancy and the unfairness in life. I can’t say I liked this book as much as I loved Promise but it is still a very worthwhile read for the well constructed characters and challenging plot.
  • (5/5)
    One of the best novels I've had in YEARS !