“In the first story of April Wilder’s This Is Not an Accident, a nervous young woman doesn’t have an accident. In fact, she’s so preoccupied by the fact that she hasn’t had a car accident that she finds herself compulsively driving four hours to Iowa just to be sure she didn’t have an accident on her first trip. She blacks out, then comes to hours later, combing the shoulder of the highway for evidence of the accident she’s almost sure she didn’t have.
Other stories in this collection feature a man in the midst of a divorce who, stood up by his soon-to-be-ex-wife, ends the evening triumphantly devouring a raw steak in front of an angry, horrified master chef, and a woman who wins an argument and loses her boyfriend at a tailgate party as a giant roast pig looks on.
At first, Wilder’s stories seem to have a dystopian edge. The remedial driver’s education that compels the first character to endless commuting, for example, hints at Orwellian doublespeak and Kafkaesque bureaucracy. Nevertheless, it quickly becomes clear This Is Not an Accident is far from futuristic. Wilder’s characters are on the edge of everyday breakdowns, fighting the eternal absurdity of marriage, traffic and other familiar hells. Almost all of them are appealingly sympathetic, making Wilder’s view of the world amused rather than bitter.
These are odd stories that resist the urge to become fantastical, because Wilder understands that life is strange enough as it is.”
—Emma Page, Island Books, Mercer Island, for Shelf Awareness
Buy This is Not an Accident from Island Books, and keep your eyes on the road!