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Amazon Asks: Ivy Pochoda, on "Visitation Street"

PachodaIvy Pochoda's Visitation Street (one of our Best Books of July) was published by Dennis Lehane for his new self-named imprint at Harper Collins. In a letter to booksellers, Lehane described the "unforgettable" experience of unexpectedly falling for Pochoda's prose.

"I knew nothing about Ivy Pochoda or the Red Hook section of Brooklyn of which she writes. I had zero expectation when I turned the first page. Frankly, I was hoping to find just enough less-than-great prose to put the book aside with a clear conscience. What I found instead was magical and masterful. Visitation Street is urban opera writ large. Filled with mystery, poetry and pain, Ivy Pochoda’s voice recalls Richard Price, Junot Diaz, and even Alice Sebold, yet it’s indelibly her own. The mystery behind what happened to two young girls, June and Val, the night they took a raft out on the bays and channels of the Hudson River, is compelling and pulse-quickening, but it’s the evocation of an urban world and all the wandering souls--some hopeful, some broken, a few somewhere in between--that moves the novel into the territory of the unforgettable."

A former professional squash player, Pochoda studied classical Greek at Harvard and earned an MFA in fiction from Bennington College. Visitation Street is her second novel.

PachodaWhat's the elevator pitch for your book?

Visitation Street is about how a community on the fringe of gentrified Brooklyn responds to a tragedy when a local teenage girl goes missing.

What's on your nightstand?

Help for the Haunted by John Searles and a stack of Alice Munro collections.

Preferred reading format?

Print all the way, baby.

Important book you never read?

Are you really going to embarrass me in public like this? Crime and Punishment, The Brothers Karamazov, and Wolf Hall


WillowsFavorite book(s) as a child?

The Wind in the Willows and The Westing Game

What are you obsessed with now?

Tacos. "The Shield." My rabbits. The humane treatment of farm animals. Reading all the books on my bookshelves that I haven’t read.

What are you stressed about now?

Finding a good opening sentence

What's your most treasured possession?

The copy of The Wind in the Willows my parents gave me when I graduated from college and my stuffed sheep Chub who I’ve had for 35 years.

Author crush?

David Gates and Andrew Sean Greer

Smoke2Pen Envy - book you wish you'd written?

Await Your Reply by Dan Chaon and Tree of Smoke by Dennis Johnson

What's favorite method of procrastination? Temptation? Vice?

Answer for all three: cocktails.

Favorite line?

“Road to hell paved with unbought stuffed dogs. Not my fault.” From The Sun Also Rises


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