PULLED FROM THE RIVER
Published by Black Lawrence Press, 2012
Vividly weaving memory, urban legend, and stark reality, Pulled From the River introduces some of Chopan’s most compelling and complex characters, those boys who inhabit the distinctive world of Rochester, New York. The narrator, arguably Chopan himself, takes us through a series of stories, fragments, obits, and letters all in an attempt to understand himself and his place in the city. Along the way we meet, a young man who takes his own life, a boy whose mother is killed by the city’s famous serial killer, and a man who, one night, dances naked in the middle of the street trying to erase his pain. These interlinked stories are narrated by characters raised on loss, and yet filled with hope and insight, grace and grit. Against a backdrop of alcohol, suicide, camaraderie, and hockey, Chopan explores the distance between the city’s greatness and its failures, between place and identity, between who we are and who we hope to be.
"Jon Chopan is the Chuck Close of fiction, synthesizing in his brilliantly vivid collection, Pulled from the River, these startled struck renderings of the hyper-real with the pins and needles pixilation of the minutely abstract. These tales are super-saturated, high-def, four D concentrated maps more detailed than mere actual actualities. Get ready to see and see, to see see-squared, see off the scale, see both the infrared and the ultraviolet and, yes, even more more."
—Michael Martone, author of Michael Martone
"Welcome to Jon Chopan’s Rochester, New York, and its boys and men. Welcome to a world of snow, Genny Beer, layoffs at Delphi and Xerox and Kodak, The Genesee River Killer, and the haunting memory of a childhood friend. Pulled From the River is a lyrical work of fact and memory, an elegy to a decaying city and a lost childhood. Jon Chopan writes with grace and grit about tough-guy adolescents whose hearts are still tender, families that forge strong bonds in the face of economic and personal crises, violence that changes lives forever, and the desire for redemption that pulses beneath disappointment. This is a story of loss, yes, but more than that, it’s a story of love a story carefully and beautifully told. Jon Chopan is a writer with moxie and heart. He may tell us not to believe everything we read, but, thanks to his veracity and precision, we do. We most certainly do."
—Lee Martin, author of The Bright Forever (Pulitzer Prize finalist)
"Jon Chopan’s writing is artful, smart, poetic, and beautiful. His dialogue and scenic description are fabulous. Chopan’s novel moves gracefully from more extended narrative to lyricism and back again, making this book both vivid and necessary. Pulled From the River is the first novel from a significant and talented young writer who shows a remarkable empathy for his city and his people."
—Stephen Kuusisto, author of Planet of the Blind