Not at ALL surprisingly, the author is herself a journalist, which explains the excessive details of the craft as well as the really cruddy writing. Journalism is not fiction, or at least, it's not the good kind. This read like someone who had never herself read anything better than the Post one example though I could quote the whole book: "Tony is a guy I've been hooking up with [the author continuously does this, dropping names then devoting a paragraph of expository info.
I'm pretty sure this was covered in Creative Writing but not, perhaps, journalism school. He's very much not Iris's type, but I like him. Iris likes metrosexuals. The guy she's sort of seeing now has highlights and the jawline of a Roman statue. Tony is very not metro sexual. This was rather painful and pretty much sums up the book in its entirety. Like we care. And while much of her information was, actually, accurate, the 'info dump' school of writing that has dialogue sounding more like cut and paste from Wikipedia really doesn't enhance a read.
The treatment of the Hasidic community. Ok, now, I KNOW that there are problems in the H community just as any other and that many of the problems cited here are in fact present if not at times dominant. And I know that if one of my tribe members were trash talking the H's I'd be right there.
Invisible City Editions
I take issue with the protagonist saying 'There were Jews in the store. I could tell because of their sidecurls and black hats. She does this a lot, along with many other broad sweeping statements that were often ignorant if not flat out dangerous. I found it ironic, too, that while Hasids were called horrible names for not speaking to the reporters, at no point did the reporter realize that coming to a mourner's house THE DAY a close relative turns up dead, let alone on Sabbath, to ask a barrage of questions that are none of her business, actually, to me, paints you as the insert expletive here.
I have to say that what this book convinced me of was not the issues in the Hasidic community but in the world of journalism. Hunting for a scoop was worth lying for and putting people's lives and privacy at risk, and the best part was then this was spun as noble! Because, you know, truth and justice and all that jazz, as they misquote people left and right. The plot. This was not suspenseful, or believable, or exciting. Partly, I am sure, due to a rather flat narrator who was not likable or even interesting enough to be unlikable, and ditto for her cast of stupid characters.
When we get to the big reveal, the protagonist seems about as thrilled as I was, which is to say, sounding like the same cardboard cut out she had been the whole time. The novel was written with very obvious intent for a sequel, which would only interest me if in some way the above issues were redeemed. I did appreciate the throwaway page or two that did token lipservice to what is NOT evil about the Hasidic community, but for the most part this novel only tried to reinforce pre-existing stereotypes and not, to me, doing much more than the same with the bottom feeding journalist protagonist.
View all 4 comments. Jan 25, AH rated it really liked it Shelves: mystery , zzread-mar , babr-reviews , arc-netgalley. Initial Thoughts: So I picked up this book around lunchtime and finished it before dinner. This book deals with a murder investigation in NYC's Hasidic community. Rebekah Roberts is assigned to investigate the murder for her newspaper and she uncovers quite a lot of interesting tidbits.
The story is told from Rebekah's point of view and the story kept me enthralled throughout. Rebekah's voice and the author's attention to details made the story feel very much an authentic depiction of the Hasidi Initial Thoughts: So I picked up this book around lunchtime and finished it before dinner. Rebekah's voice and the author's attention to details made the story feel very much an authentic depiction of the Hasidic community. When a Hasidic woman is found murdered, Rebekah Roberts is sent to cover case for her newspaper.
Soon, Rebekah discovers more than she expects. I literally devoured this book in one sitting. I could not put it down. Invisible City is a change from my usual genres of science fiction, urban fantasy, and the like so I was surprised that it held my interest. She was easy to relate to, and all she wanted was to find the truth. I also liked the amount of research that this author put into her story. Oftentimes it seems that certain groups are not represented well in the press.
I found her depiction of the Hasidic community to be quite accurate. Invisible City touches upon many themes: big city corruption and cover ups, social issues, even mental health issues are addressed in this book. Occasionally, people want to leave and I was fascinated by the home near Coney Island. The reader feels a sense of solidarity with Rebekah as she looks for clues to find her mother.
Invisible City was a thoroughly enjoyable read and I highly recommend this book. Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for a review copy of this book. Review posted on Badass Book Reviews. Check it out! View 2 comments.
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May 05, Rachel rated it it was ok. It was an interesting, intriguing murder mystery but I was uncomfortable with how the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in Borough Park was portrayed. Everyone was either mentally ill, protecting a family member who was mentally ill, or trying to escape from the community.
The ending totally left me hanging and she didn't bring any closure to Rebekah's relationship with her boyfriend Tony. There's probably a sequel in the works. Aug 05, Jaylia3 rated it it was amazing. The varied elements of this novel combine to make it both a compelling personal story and a suspenseful mystery. Invisible City by Julia Dahl had me from its premise and did not disappoint as I read. I was so drawn to it I found myse The varied elements of this novel combine to make it both a compelling personal story and a suspenseful mystery.
I was so drawn to it I found myself picking it up even when I only had a few minutes to spare. Unsurprisingly, Rebekah has abandonment issues that surface as acute anxiety. Following the threads of the story takes Rebekah into the heart of the Hasidic community, where she is both an outsider and to some degree an insider, and may lead to a career advancing breakthrough article or bring her closer, in understanding if not in person, to her as yet undiscovered mother.
Coincidence might be a little overused in the plot, but the story had me in its grips enough that I hardly cared. I look forward with some confidence to seeing what Julia Dahl comes up with to match it. Shelves: book-club. Reread for mystery book club, 8. While the supporting characters seem poorly depicted, Dahl does an excellent job of characterizing Rebekah, a freshly minted journalist in her first full-time position. The mystery is still not great and full of red herrings, and I'm not planning on reading more in the series, though. The mystery ended rather abruptly with little explanation, and the characterization was overall very poor.
However, I give Dahl credit for pretty accurately capturing the voice of a year-old new journalist and getting a good feel for how the world works for the underpaid, freshly out of college New Yorkers. Oct 07, AdiTurbo rated it really liked it. A mystery that takes you to the depths of a strange culture - that of ultra-orthodox Jews living in New York.
It is a closed and secretive community that protects its own vehemently. In this case, it makes them try to cover up a murder of a young woman. A young freelance journalist with distant ties to the community is caught up in the story, and finds out more about her own family history on the way to solving the mystery and discovering the murderer. Believable and realistic, the novel sheds l A mystery that takes you to the depths of a strange culture - that of ultra-orthodox Jews living in New York.
Believable and realistic, the novel sheds light on the complicated political connections between the city and the community, and about a culture even I, a Jewish woman myself, know very little about. Nov 17, Jan Rice rated it really liked it Shelves: detective-mystery-crime. The young heroine of Julia Dahl's new book, the first of a series, is in New York working as a stringer for a tabloid and trying to be a reporter, when she gets involved in investigating the murder of a Hasidic woman.
Remembering Catch , she thinks, Man is matter. Drop him out a window and he will fall. Set fire to him and he will burn. Something like that. I always remembered those lines. To me it felt like a carpe diem thing. Like, you've got this body, this life, and it's all you've got. But The young heroine of Julia Dahl's new book, the first of a series, is in New York working as a stringer for a tabloid and trying to be a reporter, when she gets involved in investigating the murder of a Hasidic woman.
But looking at Rivka Mendelssohn I think maybe he meant it more literally. Rivka Mendelssohn was a woman, and then, suddenly, she was a pile of meat and bones. Unlike the character Rebekah Roberts, I didn't remember those lines. I guess I read Catch sometime in the late sixties. Reading them, I took her word for what Joseph Heller wrote. Well, not quite; I did look it up. But in those words I heard also The Merchant of Venice. Reading the New York Times review , nestled with several others of its genre, I took note, then forgot about it.
That was back when it was warm. Then I chanced to turn up in her session at the Atlanta Jewish book festival. I hadn't remembered who she was but when it dawned on me I had to have it. It was a fast and pleasurable read. I couldn't help comparing Rebekah here to "Reno" in Rachel Kushner's book The Flamethrowers , which I reviewed--also back when it was warm.
They are both 22, both in New York although in different times. I criticized Reno for not coming alive. Rebekah, in contrast, grows up.
For example, For years I hated my father as much as I hated my mother. And in some ways I still do, but now I also have sympathy for him. And respect for how he handled the situation. Twenty years old with a baby girl and a thoroughly appalled family can't have been easy, and he made it work for us. He might not have been as in touch with his actual emotions or, to some extent, reality, as I wish he was, but he's a good guy. To the core. And even at twenty-two years old I know that's rare. One parent who would protect you at all costs is more than a lot of people get. Stopping hating your parents and even seeing some good in them--a sign of growing up!
Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention that as teenagers her parents met and fell in love--her father, a Christian, and her mother, a rebellious runaway from the same New York Hasidic community where the murder has occurred in the current action. Now you are going to say this is a stretch, but the development Rebekah sustains made me think of the protagonist of The Shipping News. Like him, her body image, originally amorphous, is revealed. Also she starts out playing at being a reporter, not really responsible for what happens, and ends up a for-real reporter and writer.
Just as that series about the Amish is not just for the Amish, and The No. Rebekah's roots are modeled on those of the author, although the latter less dysfunctional; Julia Dahl has one Jewish and one Christian parent who are both religious, and so she speaks from overlapping worlds. I read the first one back in or and passed it on. The second has been waiting patiently on the shelf since then. View all 8 comments. May 08, Maureen rated it it was ok. Average - everything was average in this book: the character development, the plot, the writing.
Average is being generous. Intrepid girl reporter finds herself in "danger" in the big city. She is accompanied by the ubiquitous best fried and an extremely peripheral love interest [Insert the remainder of any other 'mystery' novel you have read here]. Nothing new to be found in these pages. This book is obviously setting up all the books that are going to be in this series. The only problem with t Average - everything was average in this book: the character development, the plot, the writing. The only problem with that is this one is not interesting enough for me to want to read the rest of the series.
Don't care if this girl finds her mother or why she left her as an infant. Add to the averageness, completely unnecessary tangents about the peripheral love interest's mother. Nothing really happens in this book until the last 40 pages and even that was pretty lame. Now my shout out to Gillian Flynn. Girl, why would you add the cover blurb to this pap? You said, "An absolutely crackling, unputdownable mystery told by a narrator with one big, booming voice.
I loved it. Sep 14, Elizabeth rated it liked it Shelves: mystery-thriller-crime-fiction. Stories about insular religious communities are always a bit gutting while at the same time absorbing in their details.
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I quickly moved onto the second in this series Run You Down. Both are mysteries involving Hasidic communities in New York. Insular communities pose challenges for law enforcement- because they can vote. In large numbers. Also, the Hasid have their own police force called Shomrim. Add murder and a tenacious reporter to this equation and you have a perfect shit storm.
And what hap Stories about insular religious communities are always a bit gutting while at the same time absorbing in their details. And what happens to those who are marginalized or otherwise do not fit in? I look forward to the next book in this series. Julia Dahl is a Brooklyn-based journalist and has worked the crime scene.
Rebekah's backstory and personal ties to the Hasid community is another compelling part to this series. Feb 04, Lori rated it really liked it. This was a very thoughtfully written debut novel!!! I learned so much about the Hasidic community which I previously knew nothing about!!! I really, really look forward to the next in this series!!! View 1 comment. Apr 09, Jenifer Jacobs rated it really liked it. I don't think I have finished an audiobook so quickly less than 24 hours in a very long time. I absolutely loved the main character, and the writing is terrific. The story, a mystery, encompasses themes of attachment, abandonment, journalism, ethics, mental illness, and how a tight-knit religious community can inadvertently impede necessary outside interventions.
The last 13 minutes of audio was a question and answer with the author that was also fantastic. I am on hold for the next book from I don't think I have finished an audiobook so quickly less than 24 hours in a very long time. I am on hold for the next book from the library but am not sure how I will wait Dec 26, Elaine rated it it was ok Shelves: , , audio.
Just not good. The hook for this little mystery is that our heroine, an annoyingly feckless girl reporter, is the daughter of a Hasidic mother who abandoned her as an infant and returned to the fold. Two big problems here for me: One, she writes about Hasidim who she frequently confuses Just not good. Two big problems here for me: One, she writes about Hasidim who she frequently confuses with "Jews" - as in, Rebekah saw "two Jews" in a convenience store as if they were zoo animals, or cartoon characters or both.
The narrator's cartoonish accents didn't help. Rebekah despite having lived in New York for more than a minute seems stunned by everything the Hasidim do - what? They keep the Sabbath?! The women must dress modestly and cover their hair?! One might think she'd never ridden the subway. Lots of prurient explication, and sinister overtones, but little attempt to make any of the Ultra Orthodox real characters or at all sympathetic.
So it just reads as Jew-sploitation. I'm rather secular myself, but I don't think any member of any ethnic group could be comfortable with quite so much open-mouthed gawping. Second, as other reviewers have noticed, Rebekah is just a terrible reporter. Although the book is bogged down at the beginning with a lot of detail about how stringers work, Rebekah has zero credibility as an actual reporter.
She never gets anyone's last name, she forgets to write down critical information, and spends a lot of time telling her editor, "Oh sorry. I get that she's supposed to be a cub reporter, but no one would get a coveted New York daily job without knowing that you need to get names. And take notes. Oy gevalt! At least it was brief. Jun 12, Tellulah Darling rated it really liked it Shelves: literal-page-turners.
The Hasidic community has always fascinated me and I'm always up for a good mystery, so when I saw this book, I had to pick it up.
It's a solid read. Good writing. The mystery may not be the most challenging, but it had enough interesting twists and turns to keep me going. Mostly, I really enjoyed Rebekah's brush with her mother's community. The insights she took away from it both as a perspective on another culture and what it meant for her personally. Definitely recommend. Mar 07, Suzanne rated it really liked it Shelves: mystery , audiobooks , contemporary. Fascinating view into the difficulty of uncovering crime hidden within the closed society of Hasidic NYC, and the hectic life of a tabloid newspaper stringer, all viewed through the anxious and sometimes unreliable eyes of a young reporter.
First in a new mystery series. Jul 17, Kathy rated it really liked it. Invisible City first caught my attention because of its focus on Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn. That it is a murder mystery, my favorite genre, sealed the deal for me to read it. Julia Dahl delves into the secret world of the Hasidic community of Borough Park in Brooklyn, where Orthodox Jews adhere to a style of life and set of rules from a long history of isolationism. Dahl does an excellent job of shedding light on how the mix of modern world and tradition can collide in untenable situations for so Invisible City first caught my attention because of its focus on Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn.
Dahl does an excellent job of shedding light on how the mix of modern world and tradition can collide in untenable situations for some of those living within the cloistered confines of Hasidism. Rebekah Roberts is a reporter for the New York Tribune, a stringer who is sent out to different assignments each day. Learn More. Explore in VR.
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