This is one of the best crime novels I’ve read this year. It’s more literary noir than thriller, with characters you can see and hear so clearly you might start confusing them with people you actually know. Though the plot centers on the disappearance of a young girl, the real focus of the book is the neighborhood of Red Hook, Brooklyn, and the various down-and-out souls who live there
One night, two teenage girls in the Red Hook neighborhood in Brooklyn venture onto the river on an inflatable raft, but the next morning, only one is found, unconscious, with no memory of what happened. As the mystery unfolds, Pochoda focuses on how the disappearance affects the neighborhood and its various residents, elevating what could have been a simple whodunit into a deep, complex, and literary mystery that lingered in my mind for days after finishing it.
Chosen by Dennis Lehane for his eponymous imprint, Ivy Pochoda’s 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.
About the Author
Ivy Pochoda is the author of The Art of Disappearing, Visitation Street, and Wonder Valley, a Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist and winner of the Strand Critics Award. She lives in Los Angeles.
“A powerfully beautiful novel” - Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review — New York Times Book Review
“A stunner of a literary thriller. Grade A-” -Entertainment Weekly — Entertainment Weekly
“Utterly transporting.”-People — People
“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
“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 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 — 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)
“Visitation Street has a wonderfully eerie and intriguing premise...but it’s the evocation of place, the spot-on rendering of a diverse cast of characters, and the poetic pitch of the writing that elevates the book into the sphere of literature.” — Library Journal
“Exquisitely written, Pochoda’s poignant second novel examines how residents of Brooklyn’s Red Hook neighborhood deal with grief, urban development, loss, and teenage angst. … Pochoda couples a raw-edged, lyrical look at characters’ innermost fears with an evocative view of Red Hook.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“[R]iveting...will keep readers enthralled until the final page. The prose is so lyrical and detailed that readers will easily imagine themselves in Red Hook. A great read for those who enjoy urban mysteries and thrillers with a literary flair.” — Library Journal (starred review)
“VISITATION STREET is a quiet, literary thriller told in lyrical, exacting prose. It’s in the vein of Donna Tartt’s “The Secret History” or Alice Sebold’s “The Lovely Bones”--Los Angeles Times” — Los Angeles Times