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Visitation Street Hardcover – July 9, 2013

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Dennis Lehane Books/Ecco; First Edition edition (July 9, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062249894
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062249890
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (222 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #212,613 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

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.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

75 of 83 people found the following review helpful By Cheryl Stout TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 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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51 of 58 people found the following review helpful By lisatheratgirl VINE VOICE on 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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47 of 58 people found the following review helpful By "switterbug" Betsey Van Horn TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 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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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Ivy Pachoda has written a book with a marvelous sense of place. The section of Red Hook, Brooklyn, becomes alive and organic before our eyes and we feel the streets, the neighborhood and its people in our bones. We understand the projects and its separation from the houses. The neighborhood is in transition with regentrification taking place. Soon, even cruise ships will be landing there. The story is captivating and keeps the pages turning.

Fifteen year olds Val and June, on a summer's evening, want an adventure, a dream experience that will take them, at least for a moment, out of Red Hook. They take a pink raft and drop it in the mucky waters and plan to sail out to somewhere different, perhaps Manhattan. Watching them is Cree, an 18 year-old boy who they flirt with. Cree himself would like this adventure and wishes he could go with them. He watches the raft from all angles on the land and then decides to swim out after them. He tries to reach them but the current is too strong and he is not able to get to the raft. He swims back to shore. Next morning, Val is found unconscious on land and there is no sign of June.
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