restricted access “Everything You Ever Dreamed”: Post-9/11 Trauma and Fantasy in Ali Smith’s The Accidental

Noting a recent critical trend to read contemporary fiction in terms of trauma theory, this article explores Ali Smith’s The Accidental both as a negotiation and critique of this fashion. Recognizing trauma’s centrality in the novel in terms of personal guilt and public catastrophe in relation to an implicit Iraq War background, I argue that the novel reaffirms trauma theory’s importance, even as it criticizes post-9/11 appropriations of traumatic sentiment. By undermining romantic and patriarchal readings of trauma as the function of a state-of-alert, the novel satirizes salient post-9/11 discourses and reaffirms its final unease with trauma culture.