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Today, i finished reading this book named ‘visitors’ by Anita Brookner…
Before i start talking about this book, i must admit that initially, when i started reading it i could not go on for more than two pages at a time which is pretty bad….but that was not my fault as i could not get myself to enjoy reading it….nevetheless, i did not stop reading it because i knew that i somehow related with the main character of the book, the 75 year old Mrs Dorothea May…..sounds a little crazy, isnt it? Me, a 21 yr old relating myself to a 75 yr old women…..but say what you want to, i matched with her aloneness(dont think thats the right word) to some extent and after a quarter of the book was finished i suddenly found it very interesting and could not help stop turning the pages one after the other…
The story is about a widow named Dorothea May who has been living alone in her house for about 15 years after the death of her husband Henry….initially, the author portrays the love that existed between mrs may and her husband and how she is still living with Henry’s memories but later on as one gets a closer look into the mind and heart of Mrs May one gets to know that there was no ‘love’ in the real sense of the word that existed between them…Henry was an old fashioned type of a man who was just out of a bitter divorce from his childhood sweetheart ….one of the many reasons why he had chose to marry Mrs May was that she did not impose herself upon him and agreed to whatever Henry suggested or decided quietly….simply said, Henry had married Mrs  May because she was the one who could bring steadiness and stableness in his life….Mrs May would, in her young days liked to believe that Henry had married her because he found her good looking but later realized that she did not really possess  good looks…ofcouse she was not bad looking either but she could not demand attention in the most indulgent of companies either…Mrs May’s closest relatives are her husband Henry’s cousins Kitty and her husband Austin and kitty’s sister Molly and her husband Harold…all of them, never could really accept Mrs May into their family and she still remembers an expression of protest in their faces when Henry for the first time brought her to their house…..for Mrs May represented another background which was different from theirs…thus, she always remained not one of their family members or even a relative but only an associate….after Henry’s death, she experienced a kind of peace not in a wrong sense as ofcourse she loved Henry in some way or another but peace in the sense that everything was now finished…earlier, she had to take care of him knowing the fact that inspite of all her care he cant be restored to health and that he will be gone soon…..that was over now….this was the main reason why after his death everyone came to her house and paid their condolences and she responded to them with her by now rehearsed replies but inside her, she felt a kind of peace which she could not explain to anyone….i felt the same kind of peace after my grandmother’s death so i can definitely relate to it…she also wanted to live alone now, now that she had the house to herself…fast forward to the present date, it has been 15 yrs since shes living alone  and one day gets a call from kitty who tells her about her 24 yr old granddaughter Ann who is coming over to kitty’s place with her boyfriend David and his best man Steve…..the charge of Ann’s wedding would be totally on her grandmother  and so she requests mrs may to let Steve stay in her house for a week because after letting Ann and David in their house she has no room to accomodate Steve also…Mrs May’s initial reaction is no as she does not want anyone and that too a young 22 yr old boy to disrupt her privacy but somehow she is bullied into providing a room for Steve…..Steve arrives in Mrs May’s house and over the next week Mrs May gets to observe him…..he speaks very little, rarely any conversation takes place between him and Mrs May, he eats his breakfast at her house and then goes out and remains out the whole day….on one occasion when Mrs May gets to ask him about his future plans or whether hes looking to get into university or what he replies that hes not looking for anything and that hes just ‘passing through’… .Mrs May is a little surprised by his answer but asks nothing furthur…eventually Steve dosnt want to leave Mrs May’s house as he is very comfortable there but Mrs May forces him to leave….but inspite of his absence he left a huge mark on Mrs May because during his stay while she slept and he was out, she used to keep an ear out listening for the sound of his key into the lock of the house…and because of this many times she got up in the middle of her sleep with turbulent dreams at the end of which she learned that if she wants something, she has to get up and go out…..
Im writing some lines of the book to which i could really touched me
‘While alliances shifted all around her she learned once again to rely in her own company’
‘What was she doing here, in this flat which she purported to love, completely unoccupied,in the middle of a weekday afternoon, with only the sound of a car passing on a wet road to keep her company?’
‘She longed for a companion, but a companion who would know her instantly, whose face would light up with recognition, who would deliver her from her isolation without a word of explanation being necessary’
‘She somehow knew that she  would always be alone’


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