BKMT READING GUIDES

The Visitor
by Maeve Brennan

Published: 2001-11
Paperback : 96 pages
0 members reading this now
1 club reading this now
0 members have read this book
This previously unpublished novella by the late Maeve Brennan is "an astonishing miniature masterpiece. [It] will stay with the reader forever."-Nuala O'Faolain.

Maeve Brennan has been called one of the best Irish writers of stories since Joyce, and with The Visitor her oeuvre is ...

No other editions available.
Add to Club Selections
Add to Possible Club Selections
Add to My Personal Queue
Jump to

Introduction

This previously unpublished novella by the late Maeve Brennan is "an astonishing miniature masterpiece. [It] will stay with the reader forever."-Nuala O'Faolain.

Maeve Brennan has been called one of the best Irish writers of stories since Joyce, and with The Visitor her oeuvre is immeasurably deepened and broadened. Written in the mid-1940s, it is a story of Dublin and of the unkind, ungenerous, emotionally distant side of the Irish temper. This haunting novella stands with her greatest short stories.

New Yorker writer Maeve Brennan delivered a posthumous one-two with her biting collections The Springs of Affection and The Rose Garden. Now comes The Visitor, a previously unpublished novella written in the 1940s. In Brennan's stories, something quietly horrid has always just happened, or is just about to happen, or both. In The Visitor, it seems to be both. Twenty-two-year-old Anastasia King returns to Dublin after living with her mother in Paris for the past six years. The two left behind Anastasia's father and his fierce old mother. It is to this scary granny that Anastasia returns, now that her mother and father have died. But she is met by an implacable rage: Mrs. King has determined not to forgive Anastasia for deserting the family. Brennan sketches in this woman's nastiness in just a few lines. Typically, she writes around her character, rather than tackling her head on: "Mrs. King came into the room in silence. She sat down without speaking, arranging her long black skirt about her long-hidden, unimaginable knees, and examining the tea tray with a critical eye." It is clear that while Anastasia thinks she has come home to stay, she is a mere visitor, and an unwelcome one at that.

Few writers so delicately and cruelly parse their countrymen; Brennan wickedly lays bare the malicious repression of the Irish. Even as she satirizes her sanctimonious people, she makes us know that the pain they inflict and feel is real. All this witty psychologizing is done with a minimum of characters and plot. The Visitor reads like an Elizabeth Bowen novel without all those words, or like Washington Square with jokes. Brennan even provides what might be called poetry, if that word weren't so cheap: a statue of the Virgin Mary has a "pale and averted face, sweet and moodless." The Visitor makes its departure all too quickly. --Claire Dederer

Editorial Review

No editorial review at this time.

Excerpt

No Excerpt Currently Available

Discussion Questions

No discussion questions at this time.

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

No notes at this time.

Book Club Recommendations

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
 
There are no user reviews at this time.
Rate this book
MEMBER LOGIN
Remember me
BECOME A MEMBER it's free

Join the leading website for book clubs with over 35,000 clubs and 20,000 reading guides.

SEARCH OUR READING GUIDES Search
Search
FEATURED EVENTS
PAST AUTHOR CHATS
JOIN OUR MAILING LIST

Get free weekly updates on top club picks, book giveaways, author events and more
Please wait...