Driving home late one night a young French woman enters the Alma tunnel where her car is sideswiped by a Mercedes which then crashes into the center divider. Frightened and alone, she fearing for what her life will become if she stays on the scene, she decides to flee.
Soon, she realizes that the car which hit her belonged to Dodi al Fayed, his passenger Lady Diana both killed in the accident. Afraid that her life will be ruined, that she will become internationally known as the woman who caused Diana’s death, she prepares to flee Paris and go into hiding.
It’s a good premise for a thriller.
Laurence Cosse is probably better known for her book A Novel Bookstore. This time around, she is much less playful; more interested in creating a serious thriller and in the moral issues around the driver of the white Fiat Uno that fateful night, who was never discovered. Should the driver have stayed on the scene? What would have become of his or her life afterwards?
So halfway through this novel my car was rear-ended. It was totally destroyed. I walked away and will end up with a nice new car once all is said and settled. But still.
I wasn’t reading An Accident in August, translated from the French by Alison Anderson, at the time of the accident, no books on tape for me, but it was kind of strange–being in a very serious car accident while reading a novel about one.
Ms. Cosse’s novel takes an unexpected, and difficult to believe, turn in the second half which is a problem with A Novel Bookstore as well, but overall it’s a pretty good read. Not a great book, but not a bad one if you happen to have time on your hands while you recover from being rear-ended. Though the synchronicity of it all may prove a little unsettling.