“Visiting” by Stuart Nadler could fall into a few categories. We could call it “divorce fiction” or “wayward middle-aged man fiction.” Either of those categories would do, but so would “father and son dysfunction fiction.”
While, “Visiting” does some things well, overall the story comes across as thin and sparse. Jonathon Cohen is a sculptor without much money, who is divorced and has a son, Marc, with a wealthy woman. Jonathon is disconnected from his son, and the tension is apparent straight away. Nadler’s ability to create tension through dialogue works well in this story; however, the story starts to become a little too neat or obvious when he introduces the purpose of Jonathon and Marc’s road trip.
The father and son interaction bends in a new direction as Marc finds out they’re visiting his grandfather whom he believed was dead. This is the explanation and hinge for Jonathon. He has shut out his father; he doesn’t want to be shut out by his son. The relationships are mirrored, and there is some slight play with the roles between the three men. The story ends focused on comparing Jonathon to his father. What does it mean? Is he less than his father or more?