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Crossing the Hudson [Paperback]

peter stephan Jungk , David Dollenmayer

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Book Description

March 10 2009
Gustav Rubin, a fur dealer in Vienna, flies to New York to spend the summer with his wife and two young children in a lake house north of the city. When he arrives late at JFK, he is met by his opinionated, unrelenting mother, Rosa. They rent a car and set out for Lake Gilead. But Gustav loses his way, and son and mother end up on the wrong side of the river. Trying to find the right route north, they become trapped on the Tappan Zee Bridge in the traffic jam of all traffic jams– a truck transporting toxic chemicals has turned over–and Gustav and Mother remain gridlocked high above the Hudson River. Gustav begins to think of his beloved father, a renowned intellectual, now eleven months dead. Then, in a surprising, highly original twist worthy of Kafka, both Gustav and Mother see the body–"the colossal, golem-like fatherbody"
– of Ludwig David Rubin floating naked in the waters below.

Jungk gives a profound meditation on a Jewish family and its past, especially the lasting distorting effects on a son of a famous, vital father and a clinging, overwhelming mother, and of the differences between the generation of European intellectual refugees who arrived in the United States during the Second World War and the children of that generation.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Other Press (March 10 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590512758
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590512753
  • Product Dimensions: 21.7 x 14 x 1.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 272 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,578,572 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

ForeWord Magazine

“The details in Crossing the Hudson [give] this novel about the troubled generations of a post-War Jewish family a verisimilitude that draws readers in...Jungk’s telling of the story is irresistible.”


The Jewish Week

“[The characters] are suspended between Europe and America, a Jewish family’s past and present, in this novel that features a Kafka-like event on the Tappan Zee Bridge.”


The National Jewish Post and Opinion

“Brilliantly blending reality and fantasy, Peter Stephan Jungk has written an intriguing novel...set forth with great wit and skill."


Kirkus Reviews

“A stirring meditation on family, faith and intellect… Jungk’s beautiful, uncanny work breaks new ground in stories about fathers and sons.”

Publishers Weekly

“Pleasantly bizarre… [a]n unusual and inventive work…refreshingly strange...”


Times Literary Supplement

"Modern Jewish fiction has generally preferred to depict the Oedipal struggle. A strange, durable love – not Roth’s sublimated hatred, not Kafka’s fear – reigns in Crossing the Hudson...[a] journey taken far too infrequently by Jungk’s literary predecessors."


The Star Tribune

“Jungk’s beautiful, surpassingly strange novel deals with emotions and faith…a treatment of father-son relationships that’s both deeply intimate and deeply intellectual.”



Salonica World Lit

"[A] great work in translation."

About the Author

Peter Stephan Jungk


Peter Stephan Jungk was born in Los Angeles, raised in several European cities, and now lives in Paris. A former screenwriting fellow of the American Film Institute, he is the author of eight books, including the acclaimed biography Franz Werfel: A Life from Prague to Hollywood (1990) and the novels Tigor (Handsel Books, 2004), a finalist for the British Foreign Book Award, and The Perfect American (Handsel Books, 2004), a fictional biography of Walt Disney's last months, which had its premiere as an opera by Philip Glass at Madrid's Teatro Real in January 2013.

David Dollenmayer
David Dollenmayer is Professor of German at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and the author of The Berlin Novels of Alred Doblin. He is the recipient of the 2008 Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize. He lives in Hopkinton, Massachusetts.
Also by this translator: The Road to Rescue, The King of Corsica, House of Childhood

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Amazon.com: 3.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A philosophical exploration of the relationship between parents and their children Aug. 23 2009
By G. Dawson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Crossing the Hudson, written by Peter Stephan Jungk and admirably translated from the German by David Dollenmayer, is a philosophical novel exploring the relationship between parents and their children. On his way to join his wife and two children at their vacation home on Lake Gilead just outside of New York City, Gustav Rubin is delayed when his international flight makes an unscheduled overnight stop in Iceland for engine trouble. Exhausted and frustrated, he finally arrives at John F. Kennedy International Airport to reunite with his mother, who lives in an apartment on Central Park West and is joining Gustav's family at the lake. The pair heads towards Lake Gilead in a rental car, only to be trapped for hours in a monumental traffic jam on the Tappan Zee Bridge, which crosses the Hudson River at one of its widest points.

What follows is a dreamy meditation about the lasting effect of Gustav's parents on his sensitive and impressionable personality. The bridge gives Gustav "the feeling of being transported into a floating, dreamlike state." As if in a dream, Gustav scrolls through memories of his recently deceased father Ludwig, and he and his mother share a strange hallucination (or is it real?) demonstrating Ludwig's continuing power over his family. Gustav recognizes that, over the course of his adult life, "the foundation of his existence remained Father and Mother." Gustav's vital father has sapped his self-assurance and his energy:

"Father's fantastic, everlasting capacity for hope, his unbearable kindness, completely robbed his son of confidence. Ludwig's immense productivity often rendered Gustav powerless. The more enterprising the father, the quieter and more worn out the son."

Gustav's vapidity and his mother's overbearing personality were constant annoyances, as was the plot contrivance of a seemingly endless traffic jam. Fortunately, a healthy amount of humor makes the hours spent on the bridge bearable. Crossing the Hudson is an interesting, if not altogether pleasant, examination of the power of parents over their children.
0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Insulted Feb. 22 2011
By Paul Virtue - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The book was well written and kept me intrigued until the last section of the book when the author is afraid the reader will miss the whole point of the book so he takes 2 paragraphs simplify and take away the literary integrity. Check out my full review at [...]

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