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The Visitors

3.24  ·  Rating details ·  147 ratings  ·  38 reviews
A lyrical novel set in America and Ireland from the Story Prize–winning author of The Hill Road

As he did so masterfully in the connected novellas of The Hill Road, Patrick O’Keeffe’s first novel moves back and forth in time and place to weave the story of two Irish families forever linked by love, secrets, and their heritage.

James Dwyer was born in rural county Limer
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published March 13th 2014 by Viking
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Average rating 3.24  · 
Rating details
 ·  147 ratings  ·  38 reviews

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Diane S ☔
Apr 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
3.5 The Lyons and the Dwyer families have been in and out of each other lives for a long time. Neighbors in rural country Limerick, their children are often thrown together, sometimes for good sometimes not. James Dwyer want nothing more than to get away, which he does first to Dublin and then to America. In America, he seldom calls home and wants nothing more than to forget everything that came before. This, he finds, is not so easy, and the novel goes back and forth from the past to the presen ...more
May 14, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
At first I had to get used to the style of the book since it can be vague at times but especially the continuous jumping from memories to current events and future events. At first I found it irritating but I got used to it. There are some really beautiful written sections in the book such when our main character reads the notes of his fathers best friend or when he calls his family members. These sections are also the most interesting since it gives you more insight and background to the family ...more
Angela M
Mar 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Two families in 1980's Ireland are bound together by the fathers' friendship,and by much, much more, we learn ,as the novel unfolds their secrets.
The story is told from Jimmy Dwyer's perspective through flashbacks and
conversations. Early on, we discover that this is not just Jimmy's story.
It is the story of his father and mother and his siblings. It's the story of
his father's friend Michael and his sons and daughters .

Some of them leave Limmerick believing they can escape their pasts, find so
Apr 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: EVERYONE

Jun 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Young Irishman James Dwyer has emigrated from his native country to the States and narrates his story to the reader in a haunting and mesmerising voice. The novel opens when he is visited by a rather mysterious down-and-out who brings a message from someone in Jimmy’s past. Kevin Lyons needs to see him. With that message the past reverberates into the present and a flood of memories threatens to overwhelm him. Spanning generations and continents, the book explores the inextricable bonds between ...more
Aug 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
The Visitors was a quick read, because you want to know what is going on with this strange fellow who shows up at the narrator's door, and because the little stories that come up about the narrator's past are equally interesting.

Like in O'Keeffe's stories in The Hill Road, the secrets that are revealed about his family's past are the most exciting, along with the sad love stories. But I also loved some of the more random stories about the people the narrator has met throughout his life -- the o
Mardel Fehrenbach
Mar 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The Visitors is a profoundly lyrical and beautiful novel, but not necesary an easy read. The novel is told by Jimmy Dwyer, an Immigrant from Ireland, and it is variable in time and place and Jimmy's thoughts and memories shift their focus, interweaving the past and the present, as he constantly remembers, relives, and rediscovers his past through the refracting lens of time and changing relationships. It is a novel that is, at times tragic, and certainly melancholy in how history plays itself ou ...more
Jun 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Beautiful and authentic. I love the style, though I see some reviewers found it hard to follow. It's best not to try too hard; rather, let it sort of wash over you, in the same way your mind wanders but follows a thread. I found this novel dreamlike, and poignant, and it makes me think of all the ways we tell and retell our stories, how we make sense of our lives and the people that were in them.
Feb 17, 2014 rated it did not like it
Written in s style that was much to hard to follow. An effort to read.
Darla Scoles
Jan 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
A unique conversational writing style plus a thought-provokingly real blend of human/family interactions makes this a worthwhile read. Not a light or necessarily happy tale, but definitely a true-to-life one. Hangs on even after that final page is read...
Jan 12, 2014 rated it liked it
James (Jimmy) Dwyer was born and raised in County Limerick on a small farm surrounded by other small farms. It seemed everyone knew one another and yet, as this tale reveals, some things were secrets known only by a select few. Jimmy leaves his home going first to Dublin and then on to America, but his memories of the people that shaped his early life do not diminish, but instead continue to reach out and effect the way he lives his life. Dwyer seems to roll through life like a pool ball after t ...more
Vivian Valvano
Jun 26, 2014 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. The themes are familiar: home, emigration, intertwined family complexities, memory and its pitfalls, love and its pitfalls, rural parochialism. The writing is, for the most part, smooth and impressive, but the protagonist, James Lyons, engages with one fairly important character in which their dialogues repeatedly utilize the direct address "my dear"; I found that tedious. O'Keeffe is particularly skilled in rendering the different time periods, different settings, different skeins of ...more
Apr 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
I enjoy modern Irish authors who try to connect with the literary heritage of some of the giants of Ireland who contributed so much to English language literature. O'Keefe's style was challenging for me, and I had to pay close attention to his blends of memory, dialogue, narration, and viewpoints. His style brought depth to what is really a simple story--two neighboring families in rural Ireland, children growing up in the 1960s and 70s, some of them emigrating for work and some of them remainin ...more
Jul 21, 2014 rated it liked it
Well written Irish slant on neighbor's, and families, inter actions thru two generations.
Present day relationships of the grown-up children are based on their childhood remembrances.
Both good and bad experiences are magnified, from a child's point of view, which lingered and have carried on into adulthood.
Misrembering, overheard, adult conversations, result, as is to be expected, in hurt feelings and animosity.
Inner feelings, guarded throughout the years, erupt as parents, brothers/sisters a
Marie (UK)
Nov 02, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Lrical????? hardly the seance structure in the first quarto of the novel was abysmal, short statements were portrayed as sentences often starting ith Sand and But which made reading difficult. The conversations between Jimmy and Zoe where every other word was "my dear" grated on the reader. Who were the visitors, who were they visiting? It amazes me that not only do these books get published but that they re described as "lyrical, masterful and weaving a story. There was no story (or not that i ...more
Bronwyn Hegarty
Jun 25, 2016 rated it liked it
I got through it just! I get that the hero had issues but he was a pretty maudlin character which made the book kind of depressing rather than uplifting. Compared to something like Goldfinch which was also full of angst but also uplifting The Visitors is trite. The writing style appeared to be an attempt to induce atmosphere and feeling into the writing but from my perspective, this wasn't successful. I doubt that any Irish person would be able to read this book all the way through. Not a recomm ...more
Apr 30, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I won this book in a Goodreads First Reads giveaway.

This book is really different from what i would usually go for, however i am very glad i have read this book.

It is written in a beautiful way which makes the book hard to put down once you have started to read it, the storylines are amazing but sometimes i found them confusing but this book is a overall very good read i would recommend giving this book a read.
May 05, 2014 rated it liked it
At first, this book didn't catch my attention and was about to give up reading it because of the different time settings and some repetitive words/phrases. I gave it another shot and finished it. The way two families are connected in their homeland come to connect outside of it is remarkable. It shows how close knit families can be and should be, always looking out for each other. Towards the end is when everything made sense and with a surprising ending that no one expected.
May 28, 2014 rated it it was ok
I've received this book from the Goodreads first read, thank you!

Unfortunately I didn't enjoy this book as much as I hoped I would.

Patrick O''Keeffe can clearly write but the style made it drag a bit and difficult to follow..I found myself going back to the beginning of various conversation as the profuse use of "ha said, she said, I said" made me lose the plot several times.

I'm glad I did finish it though: I did enjoy the twist at the end!

Jun 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
The Visitors" is a story of two families from ireland and the inteweaving of the lives ofboth over decades. Some go to other countries; some stay home; there is heartbreak and triumph; secrets and emotiomal dramaa throughout. I liked the book very much, howeveer, at times it is dificult to follow wwho is the narrator and which decade they are speaking about. i recommend this if the reader can keep time changes and character voice changes separate. as they read
Jan 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, literary


Patrick O'Keeffe's upcoming release, The Visitors is positively exquisite. From the expertly woven storylines to his amazingly beautiful prose, I was transported to another time and place. I will be keeping a close watch for future releases by Patrick O'Keeffe and cannot give high enough praise to The Visitors.
Apr 20, 2014 rated it did not like it
This was such a tedious read. I found this book challenging to get through. It was all over the place as far as the timelines went. At times I had to reread chapters because suddenly the author was referring to "He" and I couldn't follow who "He" was.

The over use of the word "dear" in conversations drove me to distraction. In short, this book was not for me!

May 20, 2014 rated it it was ok
Too obtuse for me both in what I was supposed to get out of it and what was really happening. It was like seeing half of a person and trying to figure out the whole. Dialogue felt very stilted to me (maybe intentional, but if it was, I couldn't figure out why). Maybe overall too much work and not enough reward.
Sep 01, 2014 rated it it was ok
This was a book club selection and for that reason only did I finish the book. I found the dialogues difficult to follow and the narrator often used the pronoun you to refer to himself. The main character was self-absorbed and generally all the characters made decisions that ultimately made them unhappy. Maybe the book club discussion will enlighten better aspects of this novel.
Jun 28, 2014 rated it liked it
Parts of this book are so beautifully written that they took my breath away. But the plot twists and turns in on itself so insistently that I'm not sure what happened when, or what was real and what was a dream. The more I think about it, though, I'm not sure that matters.
Misa Niranon
Feb 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
In the beginning, it really confused me with the dialogue but I ended up getting it in no time. It's really well written and I really felt like I was talking to this Irish narrator. I loved the story and can't wait to read more of his books.`` ...more
Aug 06, 2015 rated it liked it
This book wasn't too bad, but it wasn't great either. It was a bit too melodramatic for me, but I did like most of the characters and how interconnected all of them were. I'd say give the book a shot and see how you like it.
Robyn Mcilwain
Aug 06, 2015 rated it did not like it
Can someone please explain to me why the dialogue was so repetitive, always ending with "my dear", etc? I have clearly missed something. I only finished this book because I kept thinking it would get better. I finished it on the beach & nearly chucked it into the Gulf. ...more
Ashley Irby
Jan 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I received a copy from First Reads.
Couldn't put it down - beautifully written.
Barb Bankard
Jun 01, 2014 rated it liked it
Different style...interesting, thought provoking, but sometimes confusing as the narrator switches past and present, first person and third person. I did enjoy it.
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Patrick O’Keeffe is the author of “The Hill Road”, which won the 2005 Story Prize (which has the largest cash prize for any fiction award in the US - $20,000.00). The book is a collection of 4 novellas set in a fictional Irish dairy farming village. This setting would appear to be one that is especially close to Patrick O’Keeffe’s heart, as he himself was born on an Irish dairy farm in County Lime ...more

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