Visitation Street
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Visitation Street

3.46 of 5 stars 3.46  ·  rating details  ·  3,827 ratings  ·  635 reviews
Combining the raw-edge realism of Richard Price with the imaginative flair of Jonathan Lethem, a riveting literary mystery in which the disappearance of a teenaged girl sends shock waves through her waterfront community.

"Visitation Street is urban opera writ large. Gritty and magical, filled with mystery, poetry, and pain, Ivy Pochoda's voice recalls Richard Price, Junot D...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published July 9th 2013 by Dennis Lehane Books/Ecco (first published 2013)
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Will Byrnes
If Ivy Pochoda never writes another book, this one would be enough to keep her name on the lips of readers for decades to come. On a hot July night in Brooklyn’s Red Hook neighborhood, (named, BTW, for the color of its soil and an erstwhile geographical point, not for the hook-shaped pier that juts out from it today) two fifteen-year-old girls, Val Marino and June Giotta, looking for a little fun, take a small raft out into the city’s upper bay.

View from Erie Basin 1

Only one returns, found unconscious under the pylon...more
oh, good - a love letter to brooklyn. i was beginning to think NO ONE would EVER write a book about this forgotten borough. humph. and what do we have, sitting here in queens eating refried beans?


but still. this is a fantastic book. not for the mystery element; that is pretty much secondary. no, make that tertiary. first and foremost, it is, indeed, a love letter to red hook. red hook is a section of brooklyn with which i am not overly familiar. but after reading this, i feel like i kno...more
It's been months since I last reviewed anything. I'll might be a little rusty, but here I go I'll give it a shot.

This is the book that I wanted Jonathan Lethem's novel about Sunnyside to be, or that book about Woodside that I read recently but haven't actually added here to goodreads yet. A love song to a place in all of its beauty, awfulness, grime and shit. I'm not all that familiar with Red Hook, I'm fairly certain I've been there a couple of times (is this the neighborhood of Last Exit to B...more
switterbug (Betsey)
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. Like VISITATION STREET, it often starts as a murder/police procedural as a trigger. Then, the narrative at hand observes the effect of the murder on a town, and its people. Often, the murder 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, s...more
This story is about Red Hook, Brooklyn, and how it exists in the shadow of a glimmering Manhattan, and the author does not let you forget it. The people and events are secondary.

The author uses "Red Hook" as an adjective and name-drops it in every other sentence, in case the reader forgets where this little Red Hook story takes place (it's in Red Hook). I should have stopped reading when, in the first few pages, two Red Hook teenage girls take a Red Hook blow-up raft into the East River at nigh...more
Diane S.
This book was chosen by Dennis Lehane to be published under his imprint and after reading this I can certainly see why. The Red Hook area in Brooklyn, an area that contains middle class families, pushing against the tenements, a diverse grouping of people that have made some wonderful characters. For some reason this book has really resonated with me, I find myself thinking about it more and more. It is a book that has many different layers, there is much going on above and below the surface.

Jennifer Lane
I Don't Want to Visit This Street

This was a book club read that never grabbed me emotionally, which made it difficult for me to finish. But I did want to see the resolution of the mystery, so I plodded through.

Valerie is a fifteen-year-old who lives in Red Hook -- an impoverished harbor town within sight of New York City. She and her friend June grow restless on a hot summer night and take a flimsy raft out onto the water.

Cree is a young man (19ish?) who also is restless, and he follows the girl...more
Oh the humanity
This book is marketed as a mystery and an argument can be made for that designation though it’s not your usual who dun it. There’s a lively mix of people in Red Hook New York consisting of Italians and those who live in the nearby projects who are mostly African American. There’s a class system at work that few can breach and sadly only a few people WANT to try and integrate. The story is told from Fadi’s viewpoint. He’s a Lebanese immigrant who runs a neighborhood convenience sto...more
One hot summer night two bored 15 year old girls in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn decide to take their pink inflatable raft on its maiden voyage. The Manhattan skyline is beautiful, the water doesn't look so dirty in the dark and the moon is beaming. But there are dangerous undercurrents and only one girl returns.

The story is told from several points of view and the neighborhood of Red Hook is described so vividly it becomes a character too. Great characters, striking images, good dialog...more
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
3.5 Stars

June and Val are 15 year olds spending yet another boring summer in Red Hook, Brooklyn. On one hot night they decide to go for a float on a raft in the East River. Val ends up washed ashore, but June remains missing.

Word to the wise – don’t attempt to read this if you’re going to be subjected to a lot of distractions (i.e., don’t start it on the eve of the first day of school). Ivy Pochoda truly PAINTS the scene with her words. While Visitation Street is categorized as a mystery – loyal...more
Clearly the author cares deeply about bringing Red Hook (a Brooklyn neighborhood) to life. At times the story almost stagnates while she describes in detail the history of the neighborhood, the weather, the characters that fill the bars, projects, houses, and parks. But for some reason, it never really became real for me. I don't know if it's because it's so different from the environment that I live in or grew up in, or because her writing just didn't resonate with me. But since the neighborhoo...more
Victor Carson
I have been awaiting the publication of Visitation Street since my GR’s friend Will Byrnes mentioned it several months ago. Will has close contact with one of the major publishing houses and had the opportunity to read a pre-publication copy of the book. I liked the setting in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn and the plot outline. The author, Ivy Pochoda, has written one other novel but Visitation Street represents a “coming of age” work, I believe, for both the author and the main characters.

At the beginning of this book, I was kind of like, is this a book about nothing? There's this neighborhood, see, a part of NYC, you know, and there's kind of a white part (where the white people live and it's kind of nicer) and then there's kind of a black part (where the minorities, mostly black, live and it's kind of poorer). And then two girls from the white part walk through the black part and try to float around in the bay on this raft. Which is pink. And everyone knows you can't go out in...more
Visitation Street by Ivy Pochoda is a brilliantly written book. It's written so well that I was reminded of authors who write with perfection offering no false words or erroneous sentences. Ivy Pochoda can write a story with intersecting characters, places and events and keep them pure and right.

The setting of the story is Red Hook, Brooklyn. It's a summer's eve and two young girls, Val and June, in search of adventure maneuver the streets and its inhabitants to the murky waters of the basin whe...more
I thought it started out really well. Val and June, two bored fifteen year olds and best friends, decide they want to do something fun one taking a pink raft onto the bay that opens onto the East River in Brooklyn. No good can come of this, the reader knows, and the writing is vividly descriptive of Brooklyn's Red Hook section and paints an intriguing, knowing setting for the girls and the oncoming tragedy. But somehow, the story never delivered for me, and I was disappointed. It w...more
Ivy Pachoda writes very well. Visitation Street is a written pictorial of life in the Red Hook neighborhood in Brooklyn, where the storyline revolves around two young white girls who capsize on a pink raft in the treacherous waters in NY harbor. Revolving around a cast of characters, including a Lebanese bodega owner, some black kids from the projects, including a gifted graffiti tagger, and down on his luck musician, Pochoda has crafted an emotional and engaging mystery filled with ghosts of th...more
Loved this book. Sort of a mystery, but not really. This book reminded me of Tana French's first book, In the Woods. Also, some of the sad city grittiness of Richard Price. It is dark and scared and haunted, yet the characters are interesting and believable and mostly likable. Well written. Smart.
In all honesty, I could simply reduce the length of my review of Visitation Street to a stream of complimentary adjectives, such is the mesmeric beauty of this book.
The first notable quality of this novel is the way that it encompasses not only the best of contemporary American fiction in its depth of issues and characterisation, but also how it threads into the central narrative a compelling crime strand. Focussing on the New York shore-dwelling community of Red Hook, the book opens with two yo...more
One summer night in Red Hook, 15-year-old June goes missing and her friend Val washes up on shore, barely alive. What happened to June, people ask?
The following words are from Swapna Krishna (who put it so well, and will help me remember my own feelings for this book when I look back): "Visitation Street, which was handpicked to be the first book from Dennis Lehane’s imprint at Ecco, is so much more than a crime fiction novel. Yes, on the surface it’s about June’s disappearance and the investiga...more
Although billed as a mystery, this novel is really so much more. Two 15 yr old girls are bored one summer night in the isolated Red Hook area of Brooklyn. They take a raft out on the open water. The next day one of the girls is found washed up on the shore. The other girl is never found. The book then explores how this affects the neighborhood.

For Fadi, a Lebanese immigrant and owner of a bodega, it is part of his campaign to become the center of the community and to help find the missing girl....more
Sep 21, 2013 Ms.pegasus rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone looking for contemporary fiction in an urban setting
Recommended to Ms.pegasus by: GR review by Will
Shelves: fiction
The memory of June is preserved in her mind. She remembers the trinkets that were so important to both of them – lip gloss, their favorite foods, their music. She remembers the sleepovers, sleeping head to toe the way June's grandmother taught them. She remembers their images in the mirror. She remembers everything except what happened that night on the inflatable pink raft – their great adventure together. Yet, the shadow of that memory is lodged in Val's mind. There are some memories that are...more
I picked up Visitation Street to read because it is set in Red Hook, Brooklyn, an area my daughter lived in for a while. I have happy memories of visiting her and her husband in this scrappy little town, and am happy that another friend has just opened a sandwich shop there. I love being able to absorb a story-telling within the perimeters of my own experience, though this story takes place prior to Ikea and Fairway Market moving in to make Red Hook their own.
This book, though, just flattened m...more
I gave this book a few days of my life, but once the absolutely inappropriate Jonathan/Val relationship started to heat up I was ready to throw in the towel, only reading on because of Fadi, a guy who could really have used more time on the page. It didn't end up as bad as I'd feared, but I admit that I rushed through the end just so I could put this down & be done with it. Never a good sign when you're more excited about the books you're going to read next than you are about the one in your...more
Every time I finish a book, I read some of the reviews written on this site. Without fail, almost every review praises the book and recaps the story. Did any of these readers go to school? Seriously!! It's maddening.

All I can say positively about this book is that the author can write. Her description and narrative passages are first rate and she has an extremely well developed sense of style and characterization. Unfortunately, perhaps only for a small number of readers, myself included, this i...more
Patrick Brown
[Disclosure: I know Ivy a little bit, so take that for what you will.]

The "Dennis Lehane" imprimatur might suggest this is a straight-up mystery, but that's not really what it is. Visitation Street is a beautifully written and fully imagined novel about a place -- Red Hook, Brooklyn -- and the people who inhabit it. When two teenage girls decide to float out into the harbor, one of them doesn't return. Her absence deeply impacts the lives of many people in Red Hook.

Pachoda is a terrific stylist...more
Dec 16, 2013 Ruthie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Ruthie by: Will
From the description I thought this was a murder mystery. It is not. It is a beautifully written tale of the aftermath of a tragedy. Two young girls, bored, hot, restless, grab an inflatable raft and jump into the East River off the pier in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Things go wrong, and not just for the girls, but for many in their troubled community. Insightful, moving writing, wonderfully fully drawn out characters, surprises both happy and heartbreaking!
Again, for an amazing review - with photos o...more
I had this classified as a mystery and I wouldn't really say that's the case. There's an incident at the heart of the novel, and the question of what really happened is consistent. But the strength of the book lies more in the authors incredible skill for creating a vivid, palpable sense of the neighborhood. She masterfully moves between a few key locales - the river, a convenience store, the Houses, a bar - without making it seem overly structured or heavy handed, and I really felt like I had a...more
Karolyn Sherwood
What an incredible talent! Ivy Pochoda is one of my new favorite authors.

The front flap will tell you that VISITATION STREET is about the disappearance of "June," a fifteen-year old girl who goes out in a raft in the bay off Red Hook, Brooklyn, with her best friend Val. But somehow, the story isn't really about June's disappearance in the typical police procedural/crime novel way. The story is about the people of Red Hook—the imperfect, struggling, conflicted people of a disadvantaged neighborh...more
Two friends, June and Val, live in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Red Hook. The girls are fourteen going on twenty and are trying to find some way to entertain themselves on an endless weekend. Val decides to take her pink raft and float along the river; June joins in reluctantly. The next morning, Val is found barely conscious on the river's edge and June is nowhere to be seen.

And this is what the story centers around, but not really. June's whereabouts are secondary to the story of the various l...more
The cover blurb of Visitation Street promises a book that recalls Richard Price, Junot Diaz and Alice Sebold. And that’s a very tall order. Does Ivy Pochoda’s prose evoke the potent blend of sheer poetry and sassy street talk of Diaz…the raw-edged, dialogue-driven voice of Price…or the story-telling sentimentality of Sebold? No writer can have it all three ways.

And indeed, Ivy Pochoda’s prose is not evocative of any of the three, let alone all of them together. Indeed, she is a strong writer who...more
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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,...more
More about Ivy Pochoda...
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