A short story filled with honest emotion, Brian Bigelow’s The Visitation explores “the solitary existence of an elderly widower,” nicely framed by the Emily Dickinson quote, “Because I could not stop for Death, he kindly stopped for me.” The author portray’s his character’s love and loss convincingly, and it’s hard not to see people I’ve known living out these daily actions as I read—boiling a kettle, reading a book, turning down the corner of a page. Languid sentences filled with detail, repeated reminders of repeated steps, and actions analyzed into motive and effect, all build into an oppressive loneliness befitting the tale. But there’s light at the end in a visitation that offers no glib answers or religious requirements, just the gentle touch of hope and love. The Visitation felt a little over-slow to me, but that probably says more about my reading than about the tale. An enjoyable short story with a gift, instead of a sting, in its tale.
Disclosure: I was lucky enough to buy my copy when the author was offering it free.