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Visitation Street

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3.42  ·  Rating details ·  7,269 ratings  ·  942 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 Pr
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Hardcover, 304 pages
Published July 9th 2013 by Dennis Lehane Books/Ecco (first published 2013)
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 ·  7,269 ratings  ·  942 reviews


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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.

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 pylons of a local pier.

Val's Landing From Valentino Pier

What happened?

There is danger in being in love. When we are in love we tend to lift up the things about our beloved that appeal, while minimizing, if we see at all, the things that do not. My feeling about Visitation Street reminds me of that. There is an air of ecstasy about it, as if I have found The One. And maybe there are flaws that I simply cannot see because of the overwhelming feeling of excitement that I experienced while reading this book. For what it’s worth, I have had this feeling several times in the last few years, with The Orchardist, Caribou Island, Billy Lynn's Long Half-Time Walk, and Skippy Dies, to name a few. I have not felt any regret about declaring my love for them, and do not expect any regrets this time around. But just so’s ya know. Ahm in luuuuv. My wife understands.

This is a magnificent book, very reminiscent in power and achievement to Dennis Lehane’s Mystic River. In fact the book is released under the imprint Dennis Lehane Books, and seeing how reminiscent it is of Mystic River that seems appropriate. Ivy Pochoda has achieved a stunning success in so many ways in Visitation Street that it is difficult to know where to begin. How about characters?

Pochoda clearly has a gift for portraying people. Val is struggling to remember what happened that night, and we feel her pain as she travels from forgetting to remembrance. Eighteen-year-old Acretius James, Cree, struggles to overcome the death of his Corrections Officer father, Marcus, and to find direction in his life. He spends a lot of his time on a beached boat left by his dad.

[Was this boat, seen on a pier off Beard Street, the inspiration for this?]
Boat on Land

Will he remain moored in the rubble of the past or find a way to sail forth? Jonathan Sprouse, a musician and music teacher at a local parochial school, and borderline alcoholic, has a lifetime of descent interrupted by an opportunity to do something worthwhile. He hears the world differently from you and me.
The wino’s voice catches Jonathan’s ear. It’s dissonant, all flats and sharps with no clear words.
and later
Nearly every day Jonathan tells Fadi about a piece of music that’s perfectly suited to the moment. Last week he said, “It’s an afternoon for Gershwin. Mostly sunny, a little snappy, but with a hint of rain.” And two evenings ago he asked. “Did you see the sunset? Only Philip Glass could write a sunset like that.”
Fadi is a bodega owner, invested in helping his community, and he works to try to unravel the mystery of what happened to Laura Palmer June Giotta. (and what is going on across the street from his shop with the owner of that place and the wino who seems always to be hanging out there?)

[Here is the real-world place that provided the model for Fadi’s]
Probably Fadi's Bodega

Finally, Ren is a mysterious protector who appears, seemingly out of nowhere, to watch over Cree and Val. (For those who are familiar, think the Super-Hoodie character in the British TV series, Misfits ) Pochoda makes us care about every one of these people. She breathes life into them, giving us reasons to want them to succeed. We feel the love for these characters that their creator obviously does. But they are all, well, except for Fadi, damaged people, sinking, needing a life preserver of one sort or another. Val is a basket case after that night. Jonathan was born playing first violin and somehow finds himself at the back of the orchestra. Cree suffers from the loss of his father and Ren has a dark past that has defined much of his life. But they struggle to rise above the waves, and we cheer their efforts.

Next is the landscape, which, in this case, is the most significant character in the story. When SuperBitch Sandy raised the ocean's wrath in 2012, devastating large swaths of the East Coast, it was not the first time that Red Hook had been laid waste. The area had once been the primary entryway of grain to the nation. Large proportions of the nation's sugar was imported and refined in Red Hook, and a considerable swath of the metro area's beer was processed there. But the dock jobs moved to newer ports, the neighborhood was bisected when Robert Moses carved an elevated trench through it with the construction of the Gowanus Expressway, and the crack epidemic led Red Hook to be declared one of the worst neighborhoods in the nation in 1990. But Red Hook had been making a comeback. A new frou-frou supermarket has been built in a Civil War era waterfront building (it is referred to in the book as Local Harvest, but is in reality a Fairway. I have shopped there and it is fabulous, or at least it was before Sandy destroyed it. It reopened in March 2013) The story is set in 2006. There is now an IKEA in Red Hook, occupying what was an abandoned dockyard at the time of the story. On the next pier down was an abandoned sugar refinery, which was demolished in 2007, so don’t go looking.

access approved by Jake Dobkin of Gothamist
This image was found in Gothamist.com and permission was granted to use it here

A cruise ship terminal, imminent for most of the book, is opened by the end.

Queen Mary II
The Queen Mary II, at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal - 7/6/13

The change in the neighborhood is part of the world Pochoda describes. There is, by the way, a Visitation Place, on which is located a Visitation rectory.

Visitation and Van Brunt

We presume that the day care center at which the girls worked is there as well. There is a real Red Hook Gospel Tabernacle to match the one in the story. People were indeed killed in this neighborhood from drug-related gang violence, most notably a school principal who had walked out of his public school looking for one of his students, and took a stray round. In the Red Hook Houses, recently devastated by Sandy, reside some 8,000 people, in less than idyllic conditions. It is still a tough place.

So we have amazing characters and a spot-on depiction of a neighborhood in transition from drug center to the next cool place. Next comes plot. There is indeed a compelling mystery, and Pochoda is no less skilled at peeling back the layers in that than she is in revealing her characters, bit by bit. You will want to know what took place and Pochoda will let you know, in due time.

Next is the introduction of a dose of magical realism. Cree’s mother, Gloria, has the sight. Enough of a talent to spend countless days talking (visiting?) with her dead husband, while sitting on the memorial bench that had been erected to his memory. (This was inspired by the death of that public school principal. A school was named for him. Cree’s father must make do with the bench.) Enough of a talent that locals come to her for help in communicating with their dearly departed. That particular strand of DNA did not come to Cree, but his grandmother and his aunt also have the ability, and there may be another family member in line as well. After that night, Val sees and hears things. Is she losing her mind? She is not alone. How the people visited by these incomings handle the stress of it is a significant element of the tale as well. Is it real at all or merely the self-inflicted manifestation of guilt?

The notion of ghosts is prominent here in Pochoda’s Red Hook. Certainly the death of Cree’s father is a spectre that continues to impact both his son and his widow. Jonathan carries with him the burden of a death as well. Val must cope with the death of her friend, and Ren not only has death-related memories that live on for him, but has seen the torment of many others.
There wasn’t a goddamned night on the inside when I wasn’t woken by somebody haunted by the person he dropped. Ghosts aren’t the dead. They’re those the dead left behind. Stay here long enough, you’ll become one of them—another ghost haunting the Hook.
Cree’s mother communes daily with her late husband. And the neighborhood itself echoes with the change from is to was:
As he crosses from this abandoned corner of the waterside back over to the Houses he becomes aware of the layers that form the Hook—the projects built over the frame houses, the pavement laid over the cobblestones, the lofts overtaking the factories, the grocery stores overlapping the warehouses. The new bars cannibalizing the old ones. The skeletons of forgotten buildings—the sugar refinery and the dry dock—surviving among the new concrete bunkers being passed off as luxury living. The living walk on top of the dead—the water front dead, the old mob dead, the drug war dead—everyone still there. A neighborhood of ghosts.
I expect that by including references to sundry locations that have now moved on to another realm, Pochoda is linking the deaths and births on the landscape with the more human ghosts that inhabit this world. All these incredible characters come to life in this book, even though they are walking through a place as haunted as any graveyard.

The final piece here is the power of Pochoda’s writing. Here is a sample.
The women grow grungier and sexier the later it gets. Soon they bear no resemblance to the morning commuters who will tuck themselves into bus shelters along Van Brunt on Monday, polished and brushed and reasonably presentable to the world outside Red Hook. Nighttime abrades them, tangles their hair and chips their nails. Colors their speech. At night, the hundreds of nights they’ve passed the same way begin to show, revealed in their hollowed cheeks and rapid speech. Jonathan wonders how long it takes for their costumes to become their clothes, their tattoos their birthmarks. When will they let the outside world slip away and forget to retrieve it?
Really, what could possibly be added to enhance that?

Ok, there have to be a few chinks in the armor here, somewhere, right? I looked pretty closely at the geography of the events, and it seemed a stretch. For example, did Jonathan really carry the unconscious Val eight blocks to Fadi’s? Well, he is a young guy, 28, 29, so yeah, I guess it is possible. There is no inpatient hospital in Red Hook, and I have not yet found out whether there was one there in 2006. But I continue to search. The four-corners location which includes Fadi’s bodega appears to be located not at the intersection of Visitation and Van Brunt, but a block away at Pioneer Street. These are small items, and I have no trouble with the author using a bit of elastic geography to support her story. Certainly “Visitation “works better than “Pioneer,” the actual name of the street where the bar and bodega intersect Van Brunt, particularly as characters here are visited, in one way or another.

This not a book you will want to begin before bedtime, as you may find yourself reading straight through and costing yourself a good chunk of a night’s sleep. We are in can’t-put-it-down territory here. And you might want to have a good cardiologist nearby when you finish reading this book. It’s gonna break your heart.

It’s no secret. I love this book. But I’m a modern guy and this is not an exclusive love. I am more than happy to share. Don’t let this one sink beneath the waves of your attention. Reach in and pull it out. This is simply an amazing book. You must read it.

===============================IVY SPEAKS
I exchanged a note or two with the author since posting the review and she very graciously responded, OK’ing the use of her words here. I asked, “Do the names of the characters have personal relevance? Why June, Val, Cree, Jonathan, Ren and so on?”
A writing teacher of mine once told me that names should be simple but also stand out. Cree (Acretius) is the name of a guy I met when I was 11. He was older (19), black, and represented a teenage world that I couldn't really imagine. It just stuck with me. Val was originally called Viv which seemed too old. Jonathan (based on someone named William who really looks like a Jonathan) was named for that reason and after a music teacher I had in high school.
It seemed to me that the neighborhood of Red Hook was supremely significant here. “Was it your intent to mirror the ghostliness of the human life in Red Hook with the architectural changes that have taken place between 2006 and now, IKEA in place of the crumbling dockyard, Fairway due but not yet arrived, razing of the sugar factory, et al, or was that a happy coincidence?”
I truly meant to capture the ghostliness of Red Hook…Red Hook was as much a character for me as any of the real live people. In my first draft I was writing about the neighborhood more than the people in it, which wasn't so hot in terms of plot.
And as for the specifics of place in Red Hook
I lived, as I mentioned on Pioneer and Van Brunt. The Greek's cafe was downstairs and Heba / Hafiz deli was across the street. There's a Catholic School on Summit and an abandoned one on Henry (I think) that I used as inspiration for St. Bernardette's. Though in all honestly, some of the interior of St. Bernardette's is based on my school, St. Ann's on Pierrepont St. However, the boat was on Lorraine St closer to the projects. How the hell did it get there? That was super strange. It's so far from the water. The Bait & Tackle most certainly is the Dockyard. In fact, I'll be doing a reading there this summer. I can't wait.
Red Hook Bait and Tackle 416
The Red Hook Bait & Tackle on Van Brunt and Pioneer

I wondered if she had been inspired by particular art work, as there is a lot of it adorning the public spaces in the neighborhood
I really made up all the artwork in the book --- Ren's murals etc. There's no basis in real Red Hook graffiti there. Maybe soon!
As for what is next for Ivy
I'm in LA now and it's getting harder and harder to write about Brooklyn. I am tooling around with a book set here. Wish me luck!
Best of luck, Ivy. Although with talent like hers, I doubt she will need much.

4/15/14 - Pub date for trade paperback

==============================EXTRA STUFF

Ivy Pochoda, a child phenom, and later professional squash player, is a Brooklyn native. She grew up in Cobble Hill, not far from Red Hook, and she lived in Red Hook for a time as well, until signs of gentrification gave her second thoughts. She lives in Los Angeles at present. It sounds like she is there to stay, which is very, very sad. :-(

Ivy on website and FB.

Ok, I got a little funny in the head, (love will do that to a guy) trying to trace the movements of the characters here. Along those lines I employed Google and made a map that shows many of the locations identified in the book.

Keep in mind that several places cited in Visitation Street have changed or been replaced. The abandoned shipyard is now an IKEA. The abandoned sugar refinery has been razed. The bar on which the Dockyard is based, as we have learned, is the Red Hook Bait and Tackle Shop with maybe an idea or three from other local watering holes. (And there is a new liquor store nearby, named The Dockyard, that looks to be opening ‘ere long)

In addition to the images I splashed all over this review, there are more, on Flickr.com. Some relate to the book more than others, but all the shots in this set were taken in Red Hook.

================================UPDATES
3/30/13 - I came across this piece in the NY Times re what the Real Estate types, in a bit of the location renaming that is a plague here, are calling the "Columbia Waterfront District." Get over yourselves, people. It is still Red Hook. There are some nice shots in the linked slideshow though.

7/4/13 - Check out a video on Ivy's site, in which she talks about Red Hook and some of her inspirations for elements of the novel.

7/11/13 - A lovely LA Times piece on Ivy

7/12/13 - A fun interview with Ivy in LA Weekly, focusing on bars and eateries - worth a look

11/19/13 - VS is named one of the best of 2013 on Kirkus

10/12/16 - Red Hook, Brooklyn, on the Rebound by Julie Besonen - NY Times

description
7/14/13 reading at the Bait and Tackle - by Joe Angio
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karen
Jan 01, 2014 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?

crickets.

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 know everything about i
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Barbara
Dec 16, 2013 rated it really liked it

Two 15-year-old girls, Val and June - who live in the Red Hook area of Brooklyn - get bored one night and decide to ride a pool raft out into the nearby harbor. In the morning an unconscious Val is found near the shore by Jonathan Sprouse, a high school music teacher, and June is missing.

Though it seems this would be the beginning of a mystery book it's really a character study of the people living in this run-down Brooklyn neighborhood. Jonathan Sprouse is a disillusioned musician who drinks t
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Dorie
Aug 18, 2013 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
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Greg
May 08, 2014 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 Brooklyn?),
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Diane S ☔
Jan 29, 2013 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. ...more
switterbug (Betsey)
Jun 26, 2013 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
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Jul 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2013
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 – lo
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Joe
Sep 03, 2013 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 incl
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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 restle
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Britany
Dec 08, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audiobook
One word sums this book up for me: MEH!

Two best friends- June & Val- sneak out to get into mischief, and find themselves on the wrong side of a pink raft out in the River. Val survives and has to live with what happened to her best friend June, who is missing. Into some additional delinquent characters- some race issues and you've got the outline for this book. The only interesting character was Gloria- who had psychic abilities, and I found her easily my favorite. You can't alwa
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Barbara
I had this book on my shelves for a few years and finally picked it up to bring on a recent road trip. I had bought it after reading a spectacular review by Will Byrnes here on GR. It is a story about Red Hook in Brooklyn, as it faces an uncertain future. Red Hook is a peninsula on the Upper New York Bay. For a long time, it was a thriving area full of ships, warehouses, longshoremen, and all people and things connected to these enterprises. Those things are all ghosts now, and represented by hu ...more
Raven
Sep 10, 2013 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
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☮Karen
Apr 24, 2015 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,
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Cynthia
Jul 10, 2013 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 convenien
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Janet
Jan 23, 2013 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,
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Christiane
Aug 18, 2013 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
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Cathy DuPont
Sep 04, 2014 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
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Jessica
Aug 12, 2013 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
Alecia
Aug 05, 2013 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 night....like 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
Skip
Jul 21, 2013 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
Mindy
Dec 07, 2017 rated it liked it
What I liked: The first thing was the cover. I was drawn in by the cover. The second was the writing. Wonderful writing. Especially the way the author writes about Red Hook. This is one of those stories where the surroundings becomes a character. Lastly, the characters themselves. I was invested in all the characters, and there were many. Pochoda does a great job establishing each individual character and giving them an authentic voice.

What I didn't like: Unfortunately, the story meandered to t/>What
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Larry H
Jul 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
I'd rate this 4.5 stars.

Dennis Lehane is one of my favorite authors. While I've tended to love his grittier books more than his recent forays into historically-tinged fiction, I absolutely love the way he writes and the way he creates and develops his characters.

Lehane recently started his own imprint at HarperCollins Publishers, called (what else?) Dennis Lehane Books, and Ivy Pochoda's terrific Visitation Street is the first book released under this imprint. It's truly a book wort
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Jill
Jun 27, 2013 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 stron
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C.
Aug 22, 2013 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 t
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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.

Th
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Stacey
Jan 28, 2016 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
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Ruthie
Jun 27, 2013 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
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Melissa
Mar 01, 2014 rated it it was ok
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
Barbara
Jul 05, 2013 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
“We let people invent us as they please, he thinks. The truth we keep to ourselves.” 0 likes
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