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The Visitor [Hardcover]

Katherine Stansfield
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
RRP: 10.00
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Book Description

1 Sep 2013
He turns and waves, twenty feet or so away... she can't swim as strongly as usual. She can taste blood again. Nicholas bobs where he is, letting her catch up. Her nightdress blooms around her like a sail. She reaches him and he touches her arm, very gently. She wants to grab him, hold him tightly in the water. Would he let her? Cornwall. 1880. Pearl, Jack and Nicholas play among the fishing boats of Skommow Bay, not understanding the undercurrents beneath their games. As they grow older, the choices they make shape the pattern of their lives. 1936 and everything has changed. The fish have stopped coming and the Pilchard Palace is abandoned. Pearl, exiled in favour of holidaymakers, turns to the memory of her great love, and her greatest loss. She's waiting for her own visitor. Will he come for her? The sea's ghosts are stirring. The past can be more alive than the present... A cliff top romance in the style of Daphne Du Maurier and set in a fictional village based on St Ives, The Visitor is a novel steeped in the coast and people of Cornwall. It shivers and flashes with visions as elusive as the fish at the centre of its story.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 350 pages
  • Publisher: Parthian Books (1 Sep 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 190984408X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1909844087
  • Product Dimensions: 20.2 x 13.2 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 831,267 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Katherine Stansfield grew up on Bodmin Moor in Cornwall. She moved to Wales in 2002 to study at Aberystwyth University where she now works as a lecturer in Creative Writing.

The Visitor is her first novel.

Her poems have been widely published in magazines and anthologies. Her first book of poems, Playing House, will be published by Seren in October 2014.

She also reviews contemporary fiction and poetry.

http://katherinestansfield.blogspot.co.uk/

Product Description

Review

Katherine Stansfield's debut is a poignant and intricately crafted story of love and loss, picturesquely and memorably set on the sea-coast of Cornwall. --Stevie Davies, author of Awakening

An evocative record of a lost age... unmistakably heartfelt. --Daily Mail

About the Author

Katherine Stansfield was born in 1983 and grew up on Bodmin Moor in Cornwall. She moved to Wales in 2002 to study at Aberystwyth University where she now works as a lecturer in Creative Writing. She is also an associate member of the Institute of Cornish Studies at Exeter University. Her poems have been widely published in magazines and anthologies. Her first book of poems, Playing House, will be published by Seren in 2014. The Visitor is her first novel.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth reading 27 Aug 2013
Format:Hardcover
Whilst on holiday in Cornwall, I bought this for some summer reading. I was attracted initially by the cover but soon fell under the books charming erudite spell. I understand the book is by a new writer and she should have a bright future.
I was reading the book on the Cornish coast and the well written prose brought to mind the smell and sound of tides gone by. The book is full of detail and features well drawn characters with a sense of time and place. Her drawing out of the stored memory and the way it can exact a terrible price is frighteningly real and put me in mind of Chris Marker's film "La Jetee".
The character of Pearl (out of her shell, but soon to return to it) is well crafted and shows the feminine as real and not a badly drawn construct of how a woman is supposed to act and feel in a relationship. Her memory becomes your memory through the twists and turns of the story. The interaction between the sea and the inhabitants was similar to John Cowper Powys "A Glastonbury Romance". The sea gives life but it can only be gained by death.
I look forward to the next novel and hope that this level of detail and description carry on.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent debut! 29 Aug 2013
Format:Hardcover
This novel is set in a thriving Cornish fishing town of the 1880s where 3 children play together amongst the boats and in the old Pilchard Palace. A simultaneous narrative flashes forward to 1936 where Pearl and Jack, two of the children,are now married. While they grow old, the town is slowly losing its fishing industry and is becoming a tourist destination. The third child Nicholas has long since gone, and Pearl is visited often by his memory and what might have been. A beautifully written debut novel, Stansfield draws the reader into a story of love and loss whilst evoking the sights, sounds and smells of a Cornish fishing town. I turned the pages desperate to know whether Nicholas will ever return...
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love and loss by the sea 28 Aug 2013
Format:Hardcover
The Visitor is a work of historical fiction set in 19th Century Cornwall. It follows the difficult life of one woman, Pearl, as she comes to terms with loss and love. Pearl's story is set against a changing Cornwall - where traditional industries are being replaced by tourism. As she struggles with a present she doesn't understand, the past begins to reveal its secrets.
This novel goes well beyond the boundaries of what is often associated with fiction set in Cornwall. In the narrative thread set in 1936, Pearl has a fairly advanced form of dementia. This is carefully and unflinchingly handled by Stansfield.
At the center of the story is Pearl's problematic love for Nicolas. Fairly obvious parallels can be drawn with Romeo and Juliet. Nicolas believes strongly in the changes coming to Cornwall. It makes him an outsider in their fishing village and Pearl's family do everything they can to prevent the relationship. Then, when tensions are at their peak, Nicolas disappears.
There are some stunningly visual scenes in The Visitor. A riot is vividly described - giving a sense of frustration and violence without over doing it. A moment when a shoal of pilchards wash onto the shore to rot is heart-wrenching for the community, and so powerful as an image. Stansfield writes confidently and with a careful touch. In the wrong hands, such moments could be melodramatic or plodding.
The Visitor is a beautiful and thoughtful début. I look forward to Stansfield's next book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars did not enjoy 25 May 2014
By AA
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Found this to be a strange book, struggled until I had read about a third then gave up. Wouldn't recommend.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a simple story padded out 13 Oct 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Tthe idea for the story is ok but not much happens over too many pages. Also found the characters were not very well written. Would have been better as a short story
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic first novel 27 Aug 2013
Format:Hardcover
The Visitor tells the story of Pearl, a lifetime resident of a Cornish fishing village. Katherine Stansfield intercuts between Pearl's youth and later life to illustrate changes to the environment, as well as Pearl's altered circumstances. While the story of Pearl's love for Nicholas is central, it is the village that emerges as the main character. The sea and shoals of fish are anthropomorphised and rituals related to the fishing industry are minutely described. The structure of the novel is strong, too - the technique of flashing between time periods reflects Pearl's dementia as well as serving to withhold clues related to the romantic plot. It's a terrific novel.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing debut, a writer to watch! 14 July 2014
Format:Hardcover
What a treat this novel was, so full of sea, longing, love and loss. One of the most beautiful books I have read in a long time.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read! 1 Jun 2014
Format:Hardcover
Once you start reading this novel you can't put it down. An insightful, beautifully written novel exploring many themes including; the role of women in the mid 1800s and how this then changed over time, romance and the strong relationship between fishing communities and the sea. This really is a book for everyone whether young or old, while reading characters literally step out of the pages and seem so real the reader really is caught up in story. The book is peppered with rich descriptive writing, I can see the village and cottage clearly in my imagination and hear the sound of the sea. I most certainly will be buying more copies to send as Christmas presents as I enjoyed it so much!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A love story ....
Really enjoyed this ebook. Based on fact,
this is set in a fishing community giving an insight into the lives of the men, women and children.
Published 2 months ago by Leggie Blonde
5.0 out of 5 stars something to savour
It is such a beautiful read. I love the way the sentences work. its taking me ages to read because I keep trying to deconstruct every other one, like eating my favourite chocolates... Read more
Published 2 months ago by aardvark62
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended.
I really enjoyed and was fascinated by this book. It tells the story of Pearl from childhood to old age in a Cornish fishing village, skilfully weaving her present situation with... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Robin
4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended
This is a very well written period piece, which sets a personal story of love and loss in a fictional Cornish village, during the decline of the pilchard fishing industry. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Lost Shepherd
5.0 out of 5 stars A thoughtful first novel
As someone born in Cornwall and a regular visitor, I found this book historically enlightening. It also exposes the reader to the passage of an individual into mental... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Sheila Ann Bryan
4.0 out of 5 stars Pilchard fishing in Cornwall
A story set in Cornwall in a village dependent for its livelihood on the pilchard catch. But times change and those unwilling to move on find themselves confused, bitter and... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Jane Avril
5.0 out of 5 stars The Visitor
I adored this book and from the very beginning, I was hooked. Completely swept away by the detail and the fascinating descriptions of life in a tiny, picturesque fishing village in... Read more
Published 9 months ago by LouLou
3.0 out of 5 stars I felt I had been misled into buying this book
Admittedly there were only four reviews but they each gave it five stars when I bought it. I found it extremely well written, with believable characters. Read more
Published 9 months ago by V. C. Baker
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