I requested this book a while ago on Netgalley attracted by the promising family secrets that the story seemed to contain between its pages; these novels in which the narration goes back into the past to uncover tragic events that still affect the characters in the present day are the ones I most enjoy, but I guess there is always a exception to the rule, and The visitors is that said exception.
The main character is Jimmy, an Irish young man who now lives in the United States, having left the village where he was born and, not being the type who phones, writes or visits family and friends often enough, is surprised when a man pops in to tell him that one friend from the past wants to see him again. This so-called-friend is the son of Jimmy’s father’s best friend, and a bunch of memories, news from home and calls to his siblings help to unfold the story of the two families from the Irish farms to the modern America.
I could have really enjoyed the story, but I had a hard time getting into it, and I even considered not to finish the book when I was reading the first chapters. Jimmy has been a boring leading character: for the whole story he is basically doing nothing while his siblings and friends suddenly began to open their hearts and reveal family secrets he didn’t know of, which is really surprising taking into account that he is a lonely man who refuses to talk much to his relatives, less to have deep conversations.
Getting into the style, the narration lacks smooth transitions between the present day and Jimmy’s memories of the past, and all the dialogues sounded artificial: there were an excessive repetition of words – Jimmy and a female friend said “my dear” after every one of their sentences – or names – the name of the person they were talking to was also repeated in every sentence – and it made reading the conversations annoying, to say the least.
Regarding the plot, it was quite disappointing as well; basically, in Jimmy’s father’s generation a man and a woman fall in love but they marry other people and keep thinking about each other forever, and in Jimmy’s generation the same happened twice. Full stop. The events that the author includes surrounding these romances don’t really add depth to the story, neither do they change anything in the state of Jimmy’s affairs; they just make the book longer, which it is not considered a positive feature so far…
So, as you should know by now, I can’t recommend it. This was one of those books I force myself into finishing just because I have requested them, and all I wanted was to read it as soon as possible in order to start a more pleasant read.