An Accidental Light

Publisher: Other Press
“Why didn’t you have your headlights on?” . . . I couldn’t tell him about the light in November. When it’s easy not to notice the first signs of dusk. When shapes suddenly lose their edges and a girl moving quickly from behind a stationary bus, moving in the fading light, in the rain, in the November gloom, may be a ghost, a spirit, something from the Underworld, a phantom from out of my own mind.”

On a quiet road just outside London, in the blue half-light of dusk, a fatal car accident takes the life of thirteen-year-old Laura Jenkins, and her death changes the lives of two families forever. For Jack Philips, a married police officer with two small daughters, the consequences of that evening behind the wheel will force him to reassess everything he loves and to confront long-buried secrets from his past. For Lisa Jenkins, the loss of her daughter seems unbearable. As she struggles to find the courage to rebuild her life, her husband grows ever more reclusive, and Laura’s presence continues to haunt her. Eventually, Lisa’s and Jack’s paths cross in surprising and shocking ways.

In this heartbreaking and redemptive novel, Elizabeth Diamond explores the ripple effects of a single moment of tragedy—the journey from guilt to peace, from vengeance to forgiveness, from sorrow to hope—and even, ultimately, to joy. An Accidental Light is a tender and deeply affecting story that is not easily forgotten.


There’s clock time where seconds mount up to minutes and minutes to hours. Where day changes to night and weeks build to months and months to a year, and the years play out on your face and in your thickening waist. The time most of us live in.
Then there’s the other sort. It has no limits. It reels you...
Read More


1. Consider what Diamond writes on page 154: “The right direction. How do we ever know what that is? We drive home from work one day, taking the usual route, and a kid runs out from behind a bus, and the right direction becomes the wrong one…You think you’re on one path, and then you’re on...

Read More


Kirkus Reviews

“…matter-of-fact, precise prose and edgy characterizations…”

Publishers Weekly

“… a heartbreaking journey into the aftermath of tragedy.”

Curled Up with a Good Book

"Author Elizabeth Diamond beautifully moves between Jack and Lisa’s voices, exposing their layers of grief and loss in a story that seems to literally bleed with revenge and bittersweet hurt. The author digs deep into the interior lives of her two major players, exploring the redemptive power of loss and of love even as time 'slips like sand through the sieve,' bringing back the past."

Library Journal

"This first novel by British poet Diamond combines realistic themes with a suggestion of the paranormal...Diamond's remarkable talent lies in the engaging immediacy of her characters' voices: we find ourselves compelled by the mundane details of people pulling their lives together."