Wednesday, January 8, 2014
Review of Visitation Street by Ivy Pochoda (Ecco/Dennis Lehane Books, 2013)
Most crime novels dwell on the crime itself and how it is solved, with the lead characters being the detectives and/or criminals. Visitation Street takes a different approach, instead focusing on the friends and community in the aftermath of a crime whilst still moving the story to a resolution. In so doing, Ivy Pochoda tells a layered tale that has a great sense of place and social depth, dropping the reader into the world of Red Hook and its inhabitants, with keen observations regarding race, class, family, and urban life. Her characters are very nicely portrayed and their interactions and dialogue realistic. The plot has a nice cadence, the prose is evocative, and the telling has a strong emotional register, especially a sense of foreboding, without ever slipping into melodrama or psychological suspense. The result is a thoughtful literary crime novel that also offers an illuminating social commentary on life in a Brooklyn neighbourhood.