Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Dear Great Book Guru,  I have noticed that many former Brooklynites are  moving here to Sea Cliff.  In fact, many say that Sea Cliff has a Brooklyn feel.  Do you have a book to recommend that is set in Brooklyn so I can judge this for myself?  Burgeoning Interest in Brooklyn

Dear Burgeoning,  At last year's Newcomers' Party, we noted that the majority of newcomers were indeed from Brooklyn .  I just recently read VISITATION STREET  by Ivy Pochoda ,but the Brooklyn she writes about bears little resemblance to Sea Cliff or the Brooklyn most of us have experienced .   In many ways it is closer to the communities described by Dennis Lehane in "Mystic River" and "Gone Baby Gone." Set on Visitation Street in  Red Hook, a neighborhood devastated by the Balkanization tactics of city planner Robert Moses,  the novel opens with two young teenage girls floating in the murky waters of the Gowanus Canal. Val is rescued  but June  remains missing.  We meet an interesting array of characters all of whom are marginally connected to the missing girl: Fadi, the enterprising Lebanese bodega owner who loves his adopted community and tries to bridge the gap between old time residents and the affluent newcomers;  Jonathan, a local musician- teacher whose life is being destroyed by grief and guilt; Cree, a boy from the projects, whose father was murdered years before; Ren, a young graffiti artist recently released from prison; and Lil, the alcoholic bartender whose bar attracts new and old residents, all troubled. While the author describes these damaged characters in exquisite detail,  the most vivid portrait is that of Red Hook.  Recommended!
Reminder:  Silly Shakespeare Company's  THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF HENRY VIII is this Saturday, September 21 at 6pm at the Sea Cliff Beach Pavilion.  The Great Book Guru has a small but meaningful role in this production

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