Candy lost her mother Sylvie due to a drug overdose, at the young age of eleven. She lived with her grandmother, Marjorie throughout her childhood and into adulthood. Before she died Sylvie would show up every once in awhile, mostly to steal things.
Candy became a nurse’s aide at a V.A. hospital but continued to live with Marjorie. It took her income and her grandmother’s, from dressmaking, to survive. Also, almost every night Marjorie would wake to some noise, usually the tap running in the bathroom. She would start yelling at the ghost that she accused of doing this and wake Candy.
One day a new soldier was admitted to the hospital with a missing arm and he would not speak. Candy would spend time with him, not saying a word. She would stare at him and he would look angry but never said a word.
This was a very odd story. All of the people in it were clearly dysfunctional. The part with Candy’s mother and grandmother made sense to me, but I couldn’t really figure out how the solder tied in except for the anger the Candy obviously had that he also had.
That said, I did find it worthwhile.
You can read The Visitor for free at The New Yorker website, here. If you do, please come back and tell me how you think the soldier fits into the story.