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Crossing the Hudsonby Peter Stephan Jungk
Synopses & Reviews
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.
"A Viennese fur dealer confronts his life's failures in this pleasantly bizarre novel from the author of The Perfect American. Gustav Rubin, a historian turned fur dealer, has returned from Europe to Manhattan to fetch his mother for a vacation at his lake house, but the trip goes awry at every turn, culminating in an epic traffic jam on the Tappan Zee Bridge. Lending a note of urgency is Gustav's need to arrive at his lake house by dusk; as an Orthodox Jew (a faith his mother neither shares nor much respects), he must cease driving before the Sabbath begins. Mother and son bicker and reminisce about Ludwig Rubin, the family's recently deceased patriarch, until Ludwig's gigantic body appears beneath the bridge, lolling in the Hudson River. Marveling at his father's enormous presence as he and his mother hammer out the many disappointments of his life, Gustav becomes increasingly aware of his parents' power over his life. An unusual and inventive work, Jungk's refreshingly strange images give some air to the otherwise claustrophobic narrative confines." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Crossing the Hudson" is a profound meditation on a Jewish family and its past, especially 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.
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 Disneys last months, which is being turned into an opera by Philip Glass for the New York City Opera.
Also by this Author - Tigor, The Perfect American
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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