On a sultry summer night, two teenage girls looking for a diversion take a rubber raft out into the Hudson River between Brooklyn and Manhattan. Only one returns. As much a character study of people and place as a mystery story, Visitation Street is both dark and engaging. It draws you into the grittiness of Red Hook, Brooklyn, and its varying neighborhoods of poor black people in the projects and tidy streets of white people whose children attend Catholic schools. Recommended By Tom L., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
Chosen by Denis Lehane for his eponymous imprint, Ivy Pochodas Visitation Street
is a riveting literary mystery set against the rough-hewn backdrop of the New York waterfront in Red Hook.
It's summertime in Red Hook, Brooklyn, a blue-collar dockside neighborhood. June and Val, two fifteen-year-olds, take a raft out onto the bay at night to see what they can see.
And then they disappear. Only Val will survive, washed ashore; semi-conscious in the weeds.
This shocking event will echo through the lives of a diverse cast of Red Hook residents. Fadi, the Lebanese bodega owner, hopes that his shop will be the place to share neighborhood news and troll for information about June's disappearance. Cree, just beginning to pull it together after his father's murder, unwittingly makes himself the chief suspect, but an enigmatic and elusive guardian is determined to keep him safe.
Val contends with the shadow of her missing friend and a truth she buries deep inside. Her teacher Jonathan, a Julliard School dropout and barfly, wrestles with dashed dreams and a past riddled with tragic sins.
“Ivy Pochoda makes the saltiness of Brooklyn's Red Hook come to life so vividly that every time I looked up from the pages of this intoxicating novel, I was surprised not to be there. Visitation Street is imbued with mystery and danger. Emma Straub, author of Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures
“Visitation Street explores a community's response to tragedy with crystalline prose, a dose of the uncanny, and an unblinking eye for both human frailty and resilience. Marvelous.” Deborah Harkness, bestselling author of A Discovery of Witches
“Visitation Street is urban opera writ large. Gritty and magical, filled with mystery, poetry and pain, Ivy Pochoda's voice recalls Richard Price, Junot Diaz, and even Alice Sebold, yet it's indelibly her own.” Dennis Lehane
“Visitation Street [is] beautiful, haunting. Ivy Pochoda brings forth the full palette of human emotions in this gripping urban drama, a story that hurts you on one page and gives you hope on the next. A marvelous novel.” Michael Koryta, award winning author of So Cold the River
“Pochoda's premise is inspired, the novel that unfolds even more so. Rich characters, surprising shifts of plot and mood. I loved it.” Lionel Shriver, award winning author of We Need to Talk About Kevin
“Rich with characters and mood...Red Hook itself feels like a character-hard-worn, isolated from the rest of New York, left behind and forgotten. A terrific story in the vein of Dennis Lehane's fiction.” Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
About the Author
Ivy Pochoda grew up in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, and lived in Red Hook for several years. She is the author of The Art of Disappearing. A former professional squash player, she now lives in Los Angeles with her husband.