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In Hoboken Paperback – March 1, 2008


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From Booklist

It’s 1995, and 24-year-old musician Thatcher Smith, newly discharged from the army, is crashing at the Hoboken apartment of his childhood friend and guitar player extraordinaire, James. One of their former bandmates, about to cash in big on a record contract, calls their fair city the “foyer to a death house,” but Thatcher and his compatriots are at one with their town, hip to where to get the best-tasting cup of coffee and hear the best music. Although Thatcher must take a clerk job at  Beginnings Behavioral Health in order to pay the bills, he meets one of his favorite people there—the schizophrenic Orris, he of the wandering eye and smart remarks. In fact, Thatcher is blessed with a community of like-minded souls, including Marsh; a polio-afflicted, record-company PR man known as the unofficial mayor of Hoboken; and a sweet-natured, sweet-voiced singer named Lou. Bauman (Voodoo Lounge, 2005) doesn’t so much conjure a soulful time and place as inhabit them, ushering readers into his good-vibe rock ’n’ roll novel with hilarious dialogue and a terse but loving homage to gritty Hoboken. --Joanne Wilkinson

About the Author

Christian Bauman is the author of two novels, The Ice Beneath You, and Voodoo Lounge. A regular contributor to NPR's All Things Considered, he lives near Philadelphia, PA.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Melville House (March 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933633476
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933633473
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 5.6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,376,518 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

From the June 15, 2010 broadcast of public radio's Writer's Almanac as read by Garrison Keillor: It's the birthday of folksinger and writer Christian Bauman, born in Easton, Pennsylvania (1970). He's the author of three widely praised novels, all published within the past decade: The Ice Beneath You (2002), Voodoo Lounge (2005), and In Hoboken (2008).

Though his mom was a doctor and his stepdad a philosophy professor, the boy didn't do well at academics. He barely graduated from high school and never went to college. He became a teenage father and worked as a cook, a clerk, a copy writer, and in all sorts of manual labor jobs. He painted houses, he spent a Philadelphia winter perched on scaffolding working on windows of a tall old school building, and he later watered plants at a corporate office, where he'd time his entry into the executive dining room so that he could help himself to the end of the lunch buffet.

He was 21, impoverished, in debt, without health insurance, and his young daughter needed an operation he couldn't afford. He began to pay attention to Army recruitment commercials. He said he joined the Army "for the same reason most people join the Army." He said, "I was young and poor. I had a child to support and no real job prospects. I wanted to escape. But what clinched it was when I found out the Army would pay for the operation my daughter needed."

He trained at Fort Eustis, in Virginia, where he was the only newly enlisted guy getting The New Yorker magazine. When he was shipped off to Somalia in 1992, he brought his typewriter along.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
OK, if books with lines such as "Thatcher pouts his pouty lips now, eyeballing James's restricted sausage" get you excited, then this is probably not the book for you. But, if you enjoy fiction that steps beyond the realm of 'novel', fitting more comfortably into the realm of 'literature', then you will do yourself a favor by picking up a copy of 'In Hoboken'. Bauman's characters are so real, I almost felt as if I actually knew them. Do I? I think maybe I do. It is a book about friendships, life-changing events, and music. Folk music. This insider's perspective will be familiar to anybody who lived through the mid-1990s contemporary folk scene as it existed in the northeast. Strength in numbers as a group of friends with music in common try to stay true to their craft, with a perpetual disdain for the ever-necessary day job. Flirting with fame, and running from fame. At the same time, the book isn't about music at all. If Jack Kerouac were stuck in the mile-square city, he might have written something like this book.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Steve on June 20, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As an admirer of Christian Bauman's two previous novels -- "The Ice Beneath You" and ""Voodoo Lounge" -- I can say that "In Hoboken" is another step forward for one of our finest young writers.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Joey The Squash on August 25, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The characters held my interest, and I kept wanting to know what would happen to them. And that's what makes a book great.
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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Hypnohobo on November 22, 2009
Format: Paperback
The mid-90s alternative music scene in the New Jersey equivalent of Brooklyn would make an exciting backdrop for a novel, right?

Maybe, but not in this monstrosity.

It is a tale of ridiculous stereotypes meandering through life making bad decisions and learning nothing. The story is bland, the dialog is neither interesting nor believable, and there is nothing redeeming about the characters.
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