Okay, so off the bat let me just say I had never heard of South African Author Gail Schimmel. I may seem like I’ve been living under a rock considering the pleasant surprise this first encounter was. But alas, here I are.
The Accident follows the life of Julia, a woman raised by a broken mother, Catherine, following a fatal accident. Julia has sort of had to mother herself and navigate through life on wobbly terms as her deeply depressed mother has practically just washed her hands off all responsibility.
The Accident – Schimmel’s FOURTH novel – is a tale of second chances. In here is a lesson on what happens when women come together as well as the power of human connections to both destroy and resurrect us.
Schimmel’s writing is absolutely divine. It’s almost like a friend was telling you this story over a bottle of wine. It has all the drama, heartbreak, gobsmacked moments necessary for a great piece of fiction.
She has treated a number of sensitive topics such a depression, loss, grief, adultery and motherhood with such care and dignity.
This was my first South African read of the year. Schimmel’s other books are Marriage Vows (2008), Whatever Happened to the Cowley Twins? (2013), and The Park (2017). I’m tempted to shop around for these. Schimmel, a trained attorney specialising in advertising law lives in Johannesburg with her family.