Author(s): Jessica Francis Kane
'Midway through my fortieth year, I reached a point where the balance of the past and all it contained seemed to outweigh the future, my mind so full of things said and not said, done and undone, I no longer understood how to move forward'
May is at a crossroads. Although her career as a gardener for the university is flourishing, the rest of her life has narrowed to a parched routine. Her father is elderly, her brother estranged, and she keeps her neighbours at arm's length. The missing element, she realises, might be friendship.
As May sets off on a journey to visit four neglected friends one-by-one, she holds herself (and them) to humorously high standards, while at home she begins to confront the pain of her past and imagine for herself a different kind of future. May's quest becomes an exploration of the power, and perhaps limits, of modern friendship.
Every now and then you come across an elegantly written, charming novel, that you can't put down. Rules for Visiting is that book. May, coming to grips with the death of her mother, and having spent too long in the company of the trees and plants she works with, travels across America to spend time with her close friends she's neglected. The time she spends with them helps her understand the true value of friendship and how it can help her fully embrace the world for the first time. In the hands of a less talented writer this could seem trite and fluffy, but Kane's beautiful prose and acute insight make this novel a delight. Gavin