New Island Books - 25 Years a-Growing

The Visitor

The Visitor


The Visitor is the work of a very sure hand. The dark mood never wavers, and Brennan’s prose is terse and exquisitely precise throughout. The pace of the novella is also perfect, creating a demure surface beneath which epic forces are played out.’ –The Guardian

Written in the 1940s, The Visitor lay unpublished until 2001 when New Island made it available in hardback to critical acclaim. Now available in paperback, The Visitor deepens the oeuvre of Maeve Brennan and confirms her status as one of the best Irish short-story writers since James Joyce.

In Brennan’s book, twenty-two-year-old Anastasia King returns to Ireland after six years in Paris, where she lived with her mother away from her father and grandmother. With both parents dead, Anastasia arrives back in Dublin, only to be met by the implacable rage of her grandmother, Mrs. King.

Filled with vengeance and spitefulness, she has determined not to forgive Anastasia for deserting the family. It is clear that while Anastasia thinks she has come home to stay, she is a mere visitor, and an unwelcome one at that.

Praise for The Visitor:

‘An astonishing miniature masterpiece’ – Nuala O’Faolain

‘a new-found masterpiece…Only in the work of Emily Dickinson can the same ferocious vision – of love, pain, transgression and death – and economy of expression be found.’ – The Guardian

‘This early work by the respected writer never flinches from its exploration of the destructive power of family pride and anger. Brennan’s restrained but touching evocation of a young woman whose heart has been wrung dry and who thereafter is condemned to permanent exile is permeated with outrage and sorrow.’ – Publishers Weekly

‘She is constantly alert, sharp-eyed as a sparrow for the crumbs of human event, the overtheard and the glimpsed and the guessed-at’ – John Updike

‘Hope, generosity and sexual passion glitter like small jewels in Maeve Brennan’s devastating story of a chilly, tight-lipped Dublin. A perfect introduction to her work’ – Angela Bourke

‘Brennan writes this kind of emotional turmoil with lightness and depth, evoking the wrenching fear and panic that true loneliness induces. Neither excusing nor explaining Anastasia’s heightened sense of self-preservation, Brennan’s is a powerful and compassionate voice, one that haunts and inspires long after the last page of this short work has been turned.’ – The Compulsive Reader


Maeve Brennan


A-format, paperback





Release Date


Additional Information

Weight .113 g
Dimensions 175 × 110 × 10 mm


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