Jessi Jezewska Stevens

The Visitors

On the eve of the Occupy Wall Street protests, C is flat broke. Once a renowned textile artist, she’s now the sole proprietor of an arts supply store in Lower Manhattan. Divorced, alone, at loose ends, C is stuck with a struggling business, a stack of bills, a new erotic interest in her oldest girlfriend, and a persistent hallucination in the form of a rogue garden gnome with a pointed interest in systems collapse . . .

C needs to put her medical debt and her sex life in order, but how to make concrete plans with this little visitor haunting her apartment, sporting a three-piece suit and delivering impromptu lectures on the vulnerability of the national grid? Moreover, what’s all this computer code doing in the story of her life? And do the answers to all of C’s questions lie with an eco-hacktivist cabal threatening to end modern life as we know it?

Replaying recent history through a distorting glass, The Visitors is a mordantly funny tour through a world where not only civic infrastructure but our darkest desires (not to mention our novels) are vulnerable to malware; where mythical creatures talk like Don DeLillo; where love is little more than a blip in our metadata. It peers into How We Got Here and asks What We Do Next, charting the last days of a broken status quo as the path is cleared for something new.

 

 

 

Read an Excerpt
Hardback: £14.99
EBook: £11.99

About the Book

If you had subscribde to And Other Stories by 14th November 2021, you would have received a limited edition copy of The Visitors – in which all subscribers are thanked by name – in April 2022, before its official publication, as well as up to five other specially selected And Other Stories titles per year. Find out more about our subscriptions.

Format: B format hardback with dust jacket
Publication date: 7 June 2022
ISBN: 9781913505288
Ebook ISBN: 9781913505295
Availability: World English

Reviews


Publishers Weekly

‘[A] mordantly funny requiem for the early 21st century . . . The odd touch of magic does nothing to diminish the story’s uneasy relevance to the contemporary state of affairs. Fans of such paranoia masters as DeLillo and Pynchon should give this a look.’

Daisy Hildyard
The Guardian

The Visitors is a slim book with a lot going on. . . The book accepts, and even delights in, the strenuous absurdity of its characters’ efforts to index the relationship between the virtual and the material, or to locate the source of reality in imagination.’

Annie Hayter
The Big Issue

The Visitors is conceptually bold. Stevens threads through needles of political theory so deftly you barely feel them piercing the brain. Her work calmly suggests this: the apocalypse is coming for us all, baby – so, what are you doing about it?’

Andrew Martin

‘Jessi Jezewska Stevens’s frighteningly brilliant new novel The Visitors is both a bold reimagining of the recent past and an all-too-likely prophecy of what's to come. Caustic, intimate, and consistently surprising, this novel cements Stevens’s place as one of the great chroniclers of our cruel and terrifying times.’

Michael Zapata

‘In Jessi Jezewska Stevens’ timeless novel, The Visitors, nothing is as it seems, everything is in motion, and progress and decay are simultaneous. Amidst credit scores and talking spectres, revolutionary impulses and the indissoluble truths found in a lifelong friendship, Stevens paints a brilliant and richly captivating portrait of an artist teetering between her own past and an American collapse happening in real time. Stevens’ intimacy with history borders on the telepathic. The Visitors is transcendent and astounding in every way.’

Jakob Guanzon

‘Jessi Jezewksa Stevens' scalpel-fine prose – slicing with wit and pathos – belies the bewildering scope of The Visitors, which lays bare everything from the audacity of modern finance to the visceral costs of debt, love, and success. Yet while collapse looms nigh, every page beams with defiant jubilance and gut-punch insights. Equal parts revelatory and moving, The Visitors cuts to the core of the delusion and disillusionment of our era.’

Adam Wilson

‘The Visitors is such a unique gem of a novel—an intimate and affecting character study that is somehow also a DeLillo-esque container for diamond-sharp insights into big data, eco-terrorism, and the subprime mortgage crisis—that, like the garden gnome who haunts its protagonist, I’m half-convinced it couldn’t possibly  exist. But it does, and it is dazzling, and Stevens' readers are incredibly lucky to have it.’

Benjamin Nugent

‘This book is a speedball, with lines as beautifully sad and weary as John Berryman's lines, and a premise as wild and lit as one of Philip K. Dick's premises. Stevens is a writer who makes you want to slow down and read each sentence carefully, even as you want to race forward and see what happens.’

Rivka Galchen

‘One of my favorite writers has written another imaginative and attentive marvel. The Visitors is about business: the business of staying alive, the business of being with others, the business of staying sane, and the business of business.’

Tracy O’Neill

‘An orgy of synaptic firing and flourish, The Visitors is a novel of longing, lostness, and late capitalism told with roving imagination and warmth.’

Josie Smith, Greenlight Bookstore

‘Jessi Jezewska Stevens has created a parallel timeline as tumultuous and dread-inducing as our own, yet somehow this distorted reality reveals more about the preoccupations of existing than it's lived counterpart ever could. Part time capsule, part user manual, and part hallucinatory malware, The Visitors will still be with you long after the lights have gone out.’

Doug Riggs
Bank Square Books

‘Stevens' writing is vicious and cerebral, an enthralling combination. she has a lovely knack of hinting and alluding to goings-on elsewhere (the best kind of narration, imho). a cynical sophomore novel that deserves all the praise it will no doubt receive.’

Lori Feathers
Interabang Books

‘What would you do if an interrogating gnome appeared in your apartment one morning and never left? If you are C, the artist-protagonist of Jessi Jezewska Stevens’ enthralling novel, The Visitors, you constantly question whether your gnome is real or imagined, all while operating a NYC art supply store, mourning the end of your marriage and your fertility, hiding from personal bankruptcy, and longing for a romantic relationship with your oldest friend, Zo. Apart from C’s personal troubles, a terrorist group called GoodNite is destroying city power grids and staging protests around the world. Stevens fully immerses readers into C’s world, exploring the artist’s relationship to her craft, how loneliness exploits our deepest fears and vulnerabilities, the affection and jealousy between childhood girlfriends, and the permanent scar of immigrant trauma. A clever, thought-provoking novel that is as surprising as it is satisfying.’