I’ve read novels that had time travel as theme or sub-plot (e.g. HP, Devil’s Roses). Usually, in fantasy the protagonist goes back in time to save a person they love, to change an event that will affect them in the future, or by accident. In other words, most often than not, the protagonist goes back in time for his/hers own gain.
In The Visitor, one of the characters goes back in time to save United States as a country, and humankind. Mr. Blair -the time traveler- wanted to go back to the 18th century, and warn America’s Founding Fathers about the country’s future. He hoped that they could’ve prevented certain future events, and change the history’s course for the better. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen.
The time in this story is not linear. It jumps from chapter to chapter, and I find it to be quite effective. I didn’t spend time reading on on about each period of time; each chapter gets straight to the point.
This story has four main characters: Mr.Blair, Leroy, Theodore, and Quade. Each of this characters represent a time period, if you will: Mr.Blair – the future, Leroy – the end of 19th century, Theodore – the end of 1960s, and Quade – the beginning of 1960s.
The trouble is, besides Leroy, nobody wants to believe that such events will take place in their country. They can’t believe that humans are capable of such things. In a way, they are represented by Theodore and Quade. Both of them didn’t want to believe Leroy and Mr.Blair until it was too late.
The ending was both unexpected and expected. Initially I thought that somehow, one of the characters will do something to prevent the assassination of a certain president. However, after I read that people didn’t want to believe, the ending didn’t surprise me. I’m not saying this as a critique, rather it would’ve been less believable if people would’ve start believing Mr.Blair’s letter.
This story left me with so many questions, and theories. Not about the plot or the characters, but about humans and their choice of not seeing what’s right in front of their eyes. It is easier to think that things are good and nice, that all politicians will not fight against their own citizens, and so on. Why would you believe that what happened in USSR cannot happen in the West? Communism is just one for of Marxism, not the only one. How many people know that the communist experiment was meant for Western Europe, not Eastern? And so on.
Overall, I loved this short story. I am looking forward to read other stories written by Mr. Pattison.
Download your copy of The Visitor here.