The VisitorMaeve Brennan
8 April 2002
Published by Atlantic Books
‘The Visitor is the work of a sure hand… and Brennan’s prose is terse and exquisitely precise throughout… Only in the work of Emily Dickinson can the same ferocious vision – of love, pain, transgression and death – and economy of expression be found.’ Guardian
The Visitor tells the haunting tale of Anastasia King, who, at the age of twenty-two, returns to her grandmother’s house in Ireland – the very house where she grew up – after six long years away. An atmospheric story of Dublin, it is also a dissection of the unkind, ungenerous, emotionally unreachable side of the Irish temperament.
Recently rediscovered in a university archive, The Visitor was written in the mid-1940s but has never been published until now. Long championed by authors from Nuala O’Faolain and Clare Messud to John Updike, this miraculous literary discovery confirms Brennan’s status as a master of the novella and one of the best storytellers since Joyce.
‘An astonishing miniature masterpiece, except there is nothing miniature about the forces at work in a story as violent underneath as it is demure on the surface … The ferocity of her vision of femininity is hers alone. ‘ -Nuala O’Faolain
An extraordinary book; a brittle meditation on grief and exile
To mention her in the company of Chekhov and Flaubert is only proper