cover image The Visitors

The Visitors

Jessi Jezewska Stevens. And Other Stories, $25.95 (224p) ISBN 978-1-913505-28-8

This mordantly funny requiem for the early 21st century from Stevens (The Exhibition of Persephone Q) revisits the fallout of the 2008 financial crash and Occupy Wall Street movement. C, frankly, has problems. Her career as a textile artist is well behind her, her arts supply business is flagging, medical bills are piling up, and she’s having a hard time admitting that she’s half in love with her best friend, Zo, whose job as a stock trader makes her a captive audience to the unfolding carnage. What’s more, C has an uninvited guest: a lawn gnome who infiltrates her house and soon becomes her only confidante. C’s other friends include Yi, the ailing older woman she cares for, and Fran, Zo’s art dealer ex, and up till now their conversations haven’t touched on politics. But as the sinister hacker group GoodNite engages in domestic terrorism around the country, its coup de grâce threatens to irrevocably change the lives of C, her friends, and her gnome. 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. (June)