Invisible City by Julia Dahl

Sometimes I miss living in New York and I long for the days when I commuted by subway and was just a train away from Sunset Park or Coney Island or any other far-flung part of the city. Invisible City both satisfies my nostalgia for that city and digs deeper under the surface to look at the Hasidic community in Brooklyn. The book is a bit sensationalist in the ways that Dahl incorporates the cultural and societal practices of this community into her murder mystery, but it’s gripping nonetheless.

Dahl attempts to entrance the reader with the otherness of Hasidic life while also applying a pretty critical eye to the ultra-Orthodox group. That her main character is both part of the group (via her mother) and also very separate makes this work. I’m looking forward to reading her follow-up to this, in which Dahl continues Rebekah’s story to explore more deeply into her Hasidic roots. But, while Dahl’s writing is fun to read in the moment, it hasn’t stuck with me in the same way that other writers’ style or narrative does at times. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed reading but it hasn’t prompted further reflection on the book since I closed the back cover.

This post is part of #MySummerOfMysteries, a project to immerse myself in mysteries, thrillers, crime writing, and whodunits. For each book I finish, I’m posting brief thoughts and reflections here. Please note that these are not intended as full reviews. To view my reading progress throughout the summer, click here.