Use our LitLovers Book Club Resources; they can help with discussions for any book:
• How to Discuss a Book (helpful discussion tips)
• Generic Discussion Questions—Fiction and Nonfiction
• Read-Think-Talk (a guided reading chart)
Also, consider these LitLovers talking points to help get a discussion started for Visitation Street:
1. Consider the personalities of June and Val in the opening chapter. How are they different from one another? Why is Val so intent on taking the raft into the bay?
2. Red Hook—situated across the bay from Manhattan and bound by water—is both a literal and metaphorical setting in the novel. Talk about the way Red Hook isolates and traps the characters—in particular, Val, Jonathan, and Cree. In what sense does each of them feel trapped? What does each yearn for?
3. What is the thematic significance of the book's title? What is a visitation—and what does the title sugggest about the power of the past to "visit" itself upon the present? What are the ghosts in this story—are they real?
4. Follow-up to Question 3: In what way does the past take hold of each of the main characters—Jonathan, Cree, Cree's mother Gloria, and Ren?
5. What draws Val and Jonathan to one another (over and above physical attraction)? Why does Jonathan care so much about Valerie? From what does he want to save her?
6. What do you think of Ren? Why is he so protective of Cree? Why does he warn Cree to avoid Val and tell no one about his attempt to swim out to the raft. SPOILER ALERT: Was he right to hide June's body?
7. Follow-up to Question 6: Talk about the issue of race in this book? How does it affect personal relationships as well as the criminal-judicial system?
8. Although Fadi plays a small part in the outcome of the story—he is more of an observer than a participant, except at the end—why has the author given his character such prominent place in the story? What role does he play in the community? How does he view Red Hook and its residents? What is he trying to achieve with his newsletter and bulletin board? Why doesn't the newsletter increase his business?
9. Discuss the book's ending—is it satisfying? What do you think will happen to Cree, Val, and Jonathan? What about Ren?
(Questions by LitLovers. Please feel free to use them, online or off, with attribution. Thanks.)
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