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Visitation Street

3.41  ·  Rating Details ·  6,475 Ratings  ·  860 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
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
Jan 01, 2014 karen rated it really liked it
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
Aug 18, 2013 Dorie rated it did not like it
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
May 08, 2014 Greg rated it really liked it
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
switterbug (Betsey)
Jun 26, 2013 switterbug (Betsey) rated it it was ok
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
Diane S ☔
Jan 29, 2013 Diane S ☔ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: roadrallyteamb
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.

Sep 03, 2013 Joe rated it did not like it
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
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
Apr 24, 2015 ☮Karen rated it liked it
Recommended to ☮Karen by: Reese
Gritty and grim, Visitation Street offers a look into Brooklyn's Red Hook neighborhood and inhabitants. The opening chapters grab your attention with beautiful prose and a mystery which begins when two teen girls take a pink raft out on the East River one night and only one returns--you could say really the shell of one returns. What happened exactly remains unknown for a time.

Meanwhile, we get to know the large cast of characters, all of whom exist day after day in the neighborhood, children an
Jul 10, 2013 Cynthia rated it really liked it
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
Jan 23, 2013 Janet rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013, 2013-favorites
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
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
Sep 10, 2013 Raven rated it it was amazing
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
Cathy DuPont
Sep 04, 2014 Cathy DuPont rated it liked it
Ahhh...dammit, I wish I had liked this book more than I did.

It took me a week to read this 300 page book. That's a telltale sign for me. I just didn't have the urge to pick it up and read. It was almost a chore.

It was difficult for me to care about most of the characters so I didn't feel like rushing to read and turn another page.

And the ending IMHO seemed contrived and forced.

Very unfortunate because I really wanted to like this book and give it five stars. But that just didn't happen. But
Aug 18, 2013 Christiane rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 12, 2013 Jessica rated it liked it
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
Jul 21, 2013 Skip rated it really liked it
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
Jun 27, 2013 Jill rated it liked it
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
Aug 22, 2013 C. rated it it was amazing
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
Stacey  D.
Jan 28, 2016 Stacey D. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Simply fantastic. Pochoda is a talented writer, with a story that works from start to finish and flows effortlessly. As noted before, I would love to see this novel turned into a movie and I've already to begun to cast it in my mind:

Tom Hardy or Aaron Paul would be great as Jonathan Sprouse
Bobby Cannavale as Paulie Marino
Chloe Grace Moretz or Saoirse Ronan as Val
Tyler James Williams as Cree
Harrison Knight as Ren
Maged El Kedwany as Fadi
Viveca A. Fox as Celia
Lisa Bonet as Gloria (ok, that's typeca
Aug 05, 2013 Alecia rated it it was ok
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
Mar 01, 2014 Melissa rated it it was ok
Shelves: ladies-writin
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
Leo Walsh
Sep 29, 2016 Leo Walsh rated it really liked it
A long time ago, I read an essay on crime fiction by famous author, whose name I cannot remember. They stated that the crime represented a hole rent in the fabric of ordered society... and thus, was a threat to everyone's way of life. The detective pieces together clues and, by solving the puzzle, fills that breach, making the cloth whole again. Which is why, the author postulated, that Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple spend upwards of twenty pages explaining the murder and how they solved it. But ...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.

Jul 23, 2013 Julie rated it really liked it
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
Aug 01, 2013 Larraine rated it it was amazing
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.
Patrick Brown
Aug 03, 2013 Patrick Brown rated it really liked it
[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
Wilhelmina Jenkins
This book is much less a mystery than it is an exploration of a neighborhood. What George Pelecanos does for DC and Dennis Lehane does for Boston, Pochoda does for the Red Hook section of Brooklyn. In fact, this book was published under Lehane's imprint and I can see why. The mystery - a missing local girl - is secondary. What is compelling is the intersection of ethnic and socioeconomic groups in Red Hook as gentrification comes in. All of the voices of the people in this neighborhood ring true ...more
Jun 27, 2013 Ruthie rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 05, 2013 Barbara rated it really liked it
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.
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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
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