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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
*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 SeamanSee all Editorial Reviews
Ivy Pochoda's "Visitation Street" is a lovely read. Partly a mystery story, partly a portrait of a community, the book paints a complex tapestry from the interwoven stories... Read morePublished 16 days ago by Steve Benner
I read this book for several reasons. The main one being that I've been in the mood for mystery lately. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Ashley
Good read and I enjoyed the descriptive writing. It was engaging to be so involved in each character. Thank you.Published 1 month ago by Robert L.
Enjoyed this for its portrait of a Brooklyn neighborhood. But this is not, despite Lehane's endorsement, a mystery or suspense novel. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
I'm baffled about the numerous awards this novel has accrued. It is the first book in 50 years of reading that I could not finish. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Ambert
I don't normally read this genre but I sped through this book. I couldn't wait to find out what happens in the end. It could be a good book club book.Published 3 months ago by SLM
Since the book was from Dennis LeHane's imprint, I expected something else. A loving portrait of a neighborhood and its inhabitants connected by proximity and by tragedyPublished 3 months ago by Susan Moiseev