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A Call From Jersey: A Novel Hardcover – September 2, 2010

4.0 out of 5 stars 9 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

German immigrant and widower Hans Greifinger and his travel-writer son, George Griffin, narrate Kluge's latest (after Gone Tomorrow), an absorbing if slightly restrained novel that's as much about the 20th-century American experience as it is about brothers, fathers, and sons. In straightforward prose peppered with German, Hans evokes 1920s New York as he and his ever-charming, ever-gambling brother, Heinz, emigrate from Germany and set up new lives. These are the book's strongest sections, as Hans marries and raises a family in New Jersey, while Heinz, burned by debts, returns to Germany just in time for the war. In the narrative present--1984--Hans seeks to discover what ever happened to the still-missing Heinz, who fought in the German army in WWII. Hanging on his findings are Hans's home--intended for George--and Hans's golden years, which he intends to pass on the Elbe. Though the chapters narrated by George don't have the high stakes of his father's journey or the strengths of Hans's voice, they still evoke the painful communion of father and son, and humorously chronicle George's attempts to escape loneliness.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

In 1928 German immigrant Hans Greifinger follows the rules and ends up living the American Dream. He works his way up from being a janitor in a New York apartment building to becoming a homeowner in New Jersey. Hans and his wife send their only son to college, where he becomes George Griffin, a popular and wealthy travel writer. Meanwhile, Hans’ brother, Heinz, takes a different route, returning to Germany just in time to fight in WWII. Also tied up in this story of fathers, brothers, and sons is heavyweight fighter Max Schmeling and his historic bouts. Hans and George struggle with issues of family, place, and identity and narrate in alternating chapters. Both of their stories are engaging, although they never seem completely connected. The stories of Heinz and Max Schmeling are also never fully woven into the main plots, with Schmeling, especially, seeming more like a historic footnote. Despite this disconnectedness though, Kluge is an entertaining writer and, overall, his latest proves to be an interesting read. --Marta Segal Block

Product details

  • Item Weight : 1.21 pounds
  • ISBN-10 : 1590203615
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1590203613
  • Hardcover : 352 pages
  • Reading level : 18 and up
  • Product Dimensions : 6.25 x 1.25 x 9.25 inches
  • Publisher : The Overlook Press; 1st Edition (September 2, 2010)
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.0 out of 5 stars 9 ratings

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