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Crossing the Hudson Paperback – March 10, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 219 pages
  • Publisher: Other Press (March 10, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590512758
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590512753
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,559,001 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A Viennese fur dealer confronts his lifes 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 Gustavs 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 familys recently deceased patriarch, until Ludwigs gigantic body appears beneath the bridge, lolling in the Hudson River. Marveling at his fathers 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, Jungks refreshingly strange images give some air to the otherwise claustrophobic narrative confines. (Mar.)
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From Booklist

If there was an award for the most hilariously impossible fictional mother, Jungk, author of the acclaimed novel The Perfect American (2004), would easily win it for Rosa Rubin. Every sentence she utters lashes her son Gustav like a cat-o’-nine-tails. Gustav has come to New York from Vienna to spend the summer upstate with his wife and kids. He’s driving Rosa to the lake house, but they’re stuck on the Tappan Zee Bridge. It’s hot, crowded, and chaotic, and Gustav has seen something strange and distressing in the Hudson River. His mother the mind reader has also seen it: the enormous, naked body of his late, famous physicist father, her husband, Ludwig. In a dazzling mesh of the ordinary and the otherworldly, this mythic vision become a portal onto the haunting story of Rosa and Ludwig, Holocaust survivors, and their burdened son. Bridging the past and present, the living and dead, Jungk turns one family’s sorrows into a microcosm of Jewish heritage. Of great psychological depth and symbolic resonance, this dreamlike tale is worthy of the ancient Greeks. --Donna Seaman

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By G. Dawson on August 23, 2009
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.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Paul Virtue on February 22, 2011
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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