“I remembered the story as this surreal journey that begins off so mild, and this sense for the character that they will dwell this manner perpetually,” Cline advised me in that VF interview. “And by the top, ending up on this place that’s so removed from what you thought, and being so estranged from your individual life. There’s one thing actually haunting about it to me.”
Of The Visitor’s finish, she mentioned, “I knew from the start the emotional temperature of the ending, how I wished it to really feel. I didn’t know what the specifics have been, however I knew the place I wished the e book to go away this character.”
That’s the factor a few e book like this—the ending, perhaps, isn’t a lot a what-then as it’s a way of thinking. I’m content material within the lingering unease, the creepy dissonance of an upbeat tune enjoying on repeat.
However simply ask Alex: The place did anybody get, in life, being content material? Different individuals who learn it have provocative concepts. So, herein, a bunch of theories.
All of Alex’s maneuverings can be unattainable if she didn’t look the best way she does: fairly, younger, white, with good garments. (I didn’t really feel any dread for Alex, studying the e book. I used to be feeling dread for the folks whom she was impacting, the folks with out energy. Not the Simons or the Helens, however the caretaker on the home the place she scratches the portray, and the nanny on the swim membership whose cost she co-opts.) However that modifications, in the long run. She’s within the automotive accident with Jack, and I’m assuming that the airbags have gone off, and she or he’s soiled, and though she’s modified within the toilet, I feel her hair is messy, and that stye in her eye is again. She’s most likely acquired a bloody lip or one thing—as a result of the best way it’s arrange, she so desires to be clear. She seems within the mirror, nevertheless it’s brushed metallic, so she will be able to’t actually see what’s occurring. When she lastly sees Simon, she’s most likely acquired a bizarre look on her face, as a result of she’s Alex. I don’t suppose Simon is in any respect happy that she’s standing on his garden, however I don’t suppose he’s calling the cops, as a result of I don’t suppose he desires to make a scene. Simon cares an excessive amount of about appearances, however he’ll simply get somebody to get her out of there, after which she has nowhere else to go. I feel that Alex shouldn’t be lengthy for the world and that, finally, no good comes of Dom. He’s most likely looking her down. —Miwa Messer, creator and host of Poured Over: The B&N Podcast; good friend of VF
I feel she must be useless. And that’s a sociocultural learn. Folks like her aren’t arrested. The one factor that stops them is dying, proper?—Tressie McMillan Cottom, VF contributor and creator of Thick: And Different Essays
I learn The Visitor like I’d take traces of cocaine: in small doses inhaled at frequent intervals. I discovered the protagonist so irritating that I may solely assume her consciousness for 5 pages earlier than taking a break to anxiously tempo my room, solely to mainline her antics once more. So when the novel ended with Alex—after she’s maneuvered herself, over 5 days, into weekend get together leases, art-filled mansions, members-only seashore golf equipment, and a hookup’s ex-girlfriend’s empty seashore home—being surprised into immobility after lastly making it to her now ex’s Labor Day get together, I used to be much less perplexed by the plot and extra subsumed by the e book’s total temper, which felt orchestrated to imitate a drug rush (or perhaps a procuring spree or the achievement of any want) the place the excessive of attainment meets the inevitable comedown, touchdown with a horrific thud—like somebody cannonballing unknowingly right into a water-drained pool. —Alexis Cheung, VF contributor and editorial director for 4 One 9 and EADEM
Alex dies within the automotive crash with Jack and goes to Simon’s Labor Day get together as a ghostly determine, determined to resolve her unfinished enterprise with him. Her unwavering perception that supersedes all the pieces, even the finality of dying, is that each one shall be resolved if she will be able to simply get to the get together, again to Simon and the life she had earlier than. Obsession has saved her alive in the course of the novel’s determined week, and it now tethers her to earth perpetually. She is going to now hang-out the place the place she final had some modicum of happiness and security, as an everlasting, undesirable visitor. —Maggie Gown, advertising and marketing & occasions supervisor at Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC; good friend of VF
The odd factor about Alex is that she is hyperconfident about her means to get away with issues, however she nearly all the time will get caught. The taillight, the portray, Dom’s cash, et cetera, et cetera. The story of the e book is in some methods the story of all her unhealthy habits catching up together with her, in cumulative vogue. The schadenfreude of seeing her torture all these privileged folks is matched solely by the schadenfreude of seeing her get her due. So by that logic, my idea shouldn’t be that she dies or will get killed, however slightly that she is lastly busted as soon as and for all, whether or not by a hand on the shoulder from Dom or a pair of cuffs round her wrists. The gig is up, and the Hamptons are as soon as once more protected for individuals who can’t think about why anybody would steal a shoe. —Michael Hogan, government digital director
At first I felt a way of disgrace come over me, like I simply wasn’t getting it. What the fuck is occurring right here? So I reread the ending, ranging from the (second, last) automotive accident, like an excellent English main. Then, like a nasty English main, I put apart all of the drowning/ghost (the Visitor = the Ghost?) imagery and arrived at my very own little not totally fashioned take: Alex is critically wounded with a neck harm, on a consciousness-losing variety of capsules, and appears utterly tousled (dirty duffel, funky eye, sweat-stained costume, most likely not smelling delish)—however not essentially like she wants pressing medical consideration. Like, no must name an ambulance—simply the cops, very discreetly, which Lori does, whereas everybody else much less discreetly shuns her. (Is that this capitalism responding to the psychological well being crises of the susceptible or what?!) Because the cops present up, with Simon recognizing them behind her, she both succumbs to her accidents and self-medication or “goes loopy,” regardless of her assurances all through the e book that she by no means would. —Claire Howorth, government editor
The e book begins with Alex practically drowning, and ends together with her truly drowning. When these little ladies stumble upon her, she positively doesn’t fall. However she did—into the pool. Now, the aquatic references are quite a few and echo earlier underwater scenes. The whole lot she experiences makes extra sense now: muffled voices, languid actions, a “solar like a sodium flash.” Why didn’t her limbs work on the finish? Her physique had gone limp. She used her final little bit of energy to barely widen her smile at Simon—not an excessive amount of, don’t need to look determined whereas actually dying—hoping to lure him. —Mike Nizza, writer of Bloomberg Opinion; good friend of VF (and Claire’s husband)
I assumed that some sort of safety had come to gather Alex, since Simon was trying past her within the last scene. Additionally, she perhaps collapsed from accidents sustained within the automotive accident. The final traces say she couldn’t transfer, and it looks like the top of the street for her may have been very literal and bodily. No matter occurred, although, she loses and the Simons on the get together win, despite their having to endure the gentle discomfort of a wierd character at their get together. —Kenzie Bryant, employees author