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Visitation Street [Kindle Edition]

Ivy Pochoda
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (271 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.99
Kindle Price: $10.99
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Book Description

Chosen by Denis Lehane for his eponymous imprint, Ivy Pochoda’s Visitation Street is a riveting literary mystery set against the rough-hewn backdrop of the New York waterfront in Red Hook.

It’s summertime in Red Hook, Brooklyn, a blue-collar dockside neighborhood. June and Val, two fifteen-year-olds, take a raft out onto the bay at night to see what they can see.

And then they disappear. Only Val will survive, washed ashore; semi-conscious in the weeds.

This shocking event will echo through the lives of a diverse cast of Red Hook residents. Fadi, the Lebanese bodega owner, hopes that his shop will be the place to share neighborhood news and troll for information about June’s disappearance. Cree, just beginning to pull it together after his father’s murder, unwittingly makes himself the chief suspect, but an enigmatic and elusive guardian is determined to keep him safe.

Val contends with the shadow of her missing friend and a truth she buries deep inside. Her teacher Jonathan, a Julliard School dropout and barfly, wrestles with dashed dreams and a past riddled with tragic sins.

Editorial Reviews Review

An Amazon Best Book of the Month, July 2013: A crowd gathers on the corner of Visitation Street after the disappearance of two local girls--one of whom has washed up on shore, barely alive--and our narrator teases: “The story develops slowly.” The same can be said of Ivy Pochoda’s atmospheric debut, which is as much an ode to the ragged neighborhood of Red Hook, Brooklyn as it is a slow-burning mystery. At times I felt I was reading of some foreign or forgotten city, a moody and crumbling place in the shadow of Manhattan. While the damaged-goods characters are quite memorable--a woman spends her days “speaking” to her dead husband; a music teacher drinks to oblivion, haunted by his dead mother; an immigrant shop owner dreams of a better Red Hook--the star here is “the Hook.” One character describes it as “a neighborhood of ghosts,” where trash rolls like tumbleweed--hazy, smelly, noisy, blue collar, crime-ridden, yet full of heart and hope. Says one character, who wants to flee Red Hook in the boat his murdered father left him: “It’s not such a bad place … if you look under the surface.” The same can be said of Visitation Street, a deceptively literary tale that brings to mind its benefactor, Denis Lehane, who published the book under his new imprint. --Neal Thompson

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Blue-collar Red Hook, a section of Brooklyn’s waterfront in rough transition, becomes one big outdoor theater as temperatures rise in Pochoda’s (The Art of Disappearing, 2009) beyond-category urban drama. African American kids from the projects, including pretty Monique, a singer of soaring power, hang out in cliques and gangs, while Monique’s smart, ambitious cousin, Cree, keeps to himself in various hideouts, including his late father’s grounded fishing boat. An exceptionally talented young street artist lives in a makeshift shelter in a weedy area known as Bones Manor. Smart and observant Fadi strives to upgrade his bodega to attract the neighborhood’s new hipsters, among them lost-soul musician and music teacher Jonathan. On one particularly stifling night, Val and June, “hot and stir-crazy” white teenage girls, dare to take a pink rubber raft out onto the treacherous Hudson River. Val is found unconscious beneath the pier; June is missing. During the ensuing investigation, even the dead have their say. The mysteries of sexuality, guilt, race and class conflicts, artistic pursuits, and psychic abilities are all in play as Pochoda transforms Red Hook into a microcosm of human longing. With prose as cleansing and propelling as a sea breeze and characters running like strong currents, Pochoda pulls us deeply into this transfixing tale of visitations both alarming and liberating. --Donna Seaman

Product Details

  • File Size: 1305 KB
  • Print Length: 323 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0062249908
  • Publisher: Dennis Lehane Books/Ecco (July 9, 2013)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009NF6ZB6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #78,167 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
80 of 87 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Visit to Red Hook neighborhood... July 3, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I was excited when I started reading "Visitation Street." I am a big fan of author Dennis Lehane and this book was printed under his imprint. I was hoping for a story similar to Mystic River but with its own strengths.

The story started off well for me, with teenagers Val and June looking for adventure and heading to the Beard Street Pier with a bright pink raft, dodging questionably dangerous territory along the way. They shove off in the dirty water and only Val comes back.

Sounds good so far, doesn't it? And it was. But then an overabundance of characters wander through the story and the storytelling becomes thinner and thinner. The Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn itself is a very predominant part of the story and at first I enjoyed reading about the different sections of Red Hook, from the projects to the houses to Bone Manor but the descriptions got tiresome after the first couple of tellings.

Same with the many characters - some were an integral part of the story but some were extraneous and could have been booted out with no negative effect on the tale.

I did like the characters of Ren, Acretius "Cree", and especially Fadi, the Lebanese bodega owner. But the main character of Val I couldn't appreciate and that was a huge minus to the story for me.

I am giving the story three stars because there are parts I did like but I was disappointed overall. And the ending really fizzled for me.
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53 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars first mystery masterpiece April 24, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
No one should miss this fantastic first novel. This is some of the best writing I've seen this year and I've read a lot of really good books. Even the title is a grabber, Visitation Street (think Coronation Street). Visitation Street and the places in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn are real, and the book is populated by realistic people, not just characters. The author is wonderful at creating atmosphere and a sense of place in a decaying neighborhood in the outer boroughs, cut off from the rest of Brooklyn by dilapidated expressways and erratic bus service. The glitter of Manhattan is seen from far away across the water, another world. You feel the steamy August night in an area no one has air conditioning and fans do nothing to beat the heat, and the radio is threatening a brownout. You feel the danger, to June and Val from their own foolishness in going out on a raft in the strong current late at night, to the girls having to wade through gangs of boys and maybe get attacked like Monique, to the black kids from dirty cops who'll arrest them for something they didn't do. Although the neighborhood is multi-racial and multi-ethnic, the lines are strictly drawn, with the park as the dividing line. Everyone gets angry when whites and blacks mix. Kids are warned to stay away from each other. Then a strange boy, Ren, aka Rundown, shows up and starts doing good deeds. He seemingly has no past, but actually he and several others in the book are hiding pretty bad dirty secrets. I guarantee you wont put this book down. It should win an award.
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50 of 64 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Urban Opera June 28, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I am familiar with the concept of an "urban opera," which is why I chose to read this book. Richard Price and Karin Fossum are masters at this genre. As was Lehane in MYSTIC RIVER and GONE BABY GONE. Like VISITATION STREET, urban opera often starts with a crime/police procedural as a trigger. Then, the narrative at hand observes the effect of the crime on a town, and its people. Often, the police procedural recedes somewhat as other forces--such as the psychology of the town's inhabitants and a rendering of the town itself as a character--begin to bloom. So far, so good, as VISITATION STREET promises to deliver a similar type of narrative.

Red Hook, a sketchy area of Brooklyn, is a town of struggling blue-collar workers, modest bodega owners, and also various losers. Beneath the surface is a racial and ethnic tension that is precariously kept at bay. One summer night, two white fifteen-year-old girls, Val and June, take a rubber raft out on the harbor to float under the moonlight. The next morning, Val is found with a head injury, but June has disappeared. This is the trigger that opens the story.

The rest of the novel observes and explores a select number of inhabitants that all have a tenuous connection to Val, although none of them are friends or family (well, the family connections stay rather superficial). June's disappearance is the vehicle for an exploration of Red Hook, as the town burgeons into a character, made up of many characters who are isolated from each other, but desperately trying to connect.

"A chorus of new voices...They are rough and eroded. They sound like the ache of the wind in a charred forest, the rattle of a can rolling down an empty street, the whisper of dust in a gutted building--hollow, noises unaccustomed to an audience.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Truth and consequences July 6, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This novel is neither mystery nor suspense. Instead it describes the far reaching effects of tragedy on the disparate members of the Red Hook section of Brooklyn. Two teens, willowy Val and nubile June, seek to escape the summer heat and confines of their neighborhood by taking a pink raft out on the river. By the next morning, June is missing and Val is lying near death under a pier. This sad event has repercussions that both unite and divide the decaying neighborhood. Cree is a young black man, isolated due to the horror of his father's brutal death in the projects years earlier. He is surrounded by a strong family of determined women with supernatural gifts that are not always welcomed or embraced. He is challenged by a mysterious guardian, Ren. Ren is as much an instrument of goodness as a creature of the dark. Fadi is a Lebanese bodega owner. Open to change, he sees progress float on by until he embraces the neighborhood and revels in its diversity. In the mix is Jonathon, a talented but underachieving musician and teacher, who relates to Val in ways that threaten his carefully constructed defenses.

I liked this book and was drawn into the lives of these different characters. The prose is beautiful and the author captures the aching sadness that accompanies the sad decline of a once proud neighborhood. Still, the story has some flaws. Val is insipid and her relationship with Jonathon is just creepy. June is almost an afterthought. The anger, racism and violence is muted and the characters from the projects are sanitized. The ending was weak and a major disappointment.

It was a disservice to label this book a mystery. It is not victim driven in the traditional sense. The victims are the survivors of almost unspeakable loss.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars I prefer more realistic stories. I question the author's ...
I prefer more realistic stories. I question the author's knowledge of some of the subjects referred to in the story line.
Published 24 days ago by Amazon Customer
2.0 out of 5 stars Not so good
I downloaded this e-book from to my Kindle Fire. I did a little research on the Novel. I paid the full price $10.49 so expected a lot. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Gregg Matthews
2.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't finish it
The writing is not bad, just not a very compelling story. Maybe the movie will be better. Then I can find out how it ends.
Published 1 month ago by G. Blanston
2.0 out of 5 stars don't bother
Seemed promising but was just depressing
Published 2 months ago by jfdscrappy
5.0 out of 5 stars sweet...
I moved from NY 15 years ago, but I could smell it and taste it through Ivy Pochoda's words. I couldn't put this down. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Stephanie Roark
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling visit
Reading visitation Street is to look inside a place we might otherwise avoid, assuming that the lives lived there are too different from our own. Read more
Published 3 months ago by MSHenry
4.0 out of 5 stars Ghosts and Visions
Visitation Street is a wonderful exploration of a rarely explored aspect of America -- the tiny hidden neighborhoods that time seems to have forgotten. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Sherry Hardage
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
See Will's review on Goodreads which can't be topped. May have to read this book again soon to savor the lyricism of this writer's phrasing.
Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Visitation Street (Dennis Lehane)
Still reading it and so far so good, but I think it was somewhat of a trick. I searched for Dennis Lehane books and this came up, but it's not by Lehane. Read more
Published 5 months ago by pl
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read
It is a great book.
Published 5 months ago by Marilyn Farrell
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More About the Author

Ivy Pochoda is the author of the critically acclaimed novel Visitation Street published by Ecco / Dennis Lehane Books. Visitation Street was chosen as an Amazon Best Book of the Month, Amazon Best Book of 2013, and a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Huffington Post, Self, and House & Garden. Her first novel The Art of Disappearing, was published by St. Martin's Press in 2009. She has a BA from Harvard College in Classical Greek and an MFA from Bennington College in fiction. Ivy grew up in Brooklyn, NY and currently lives in downtown Los Angeles with her husband Justin Nowell.

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