Swimming Across the Hudson

Swimming Across the Hudson As a child Ben Suskind wonders how his family came together What if he hadn t been adopted by Jews what if his brother Jonathan had been adopted by a different couple He and Jonathan fantasize abo

  • Title: Swimming Across the Hudson
  • Author: Joshua Henkin
  • ISBN: 9780399141164
  • Page: 408
  • Format: Hardcover
  • As a child, Ben Suskind wonders how his family came together What if he hadn t been adopted by Jews, what if his brother, Jonathan, had been adopted by a different couple He and Jonathan fantasize about being the secret sons of Sandy Koufax, of coming to earth in a spaceship They make blood pacts and switch names But while they imagine other identities, they search forAs a child, Ben Suskind wonders how his family came together What if he hadn t been adopted by Jews, what if his brother, Jonathan, had been adopted by a different couple He and Jonathan fantasize about being the secret sons of Sandy Koufax, of coming to earth in a spaceship They make blood pacts and switch names But while they imagine other identities, they search for ways to feel that they belong to each other, to their parents, to their home As adolescents, even in the familiar and happy comfort of the Manhattan apartment where they live, their dreams of girls and rock stars are colored by these concerns Now Ben Suskind is thirty years old, living in San Francisco with his girlfriend, Jenny, and her daughter He still reflects on the questions of his youth Jenny often has to pull his head out of the clouds So when he receives a letter from a woman claiming to be his birth mother, he is unprepared, panicked, but curious He tells his adoptive parents about the letter, and they fly him home to New York and reveal a secret about his past, one that turns Ben s whole world upside down Without telling anyone, Ben embarks on a journey, risking his relationship with everyone his girlfriend, his brother, his parents He combs through the records of his family s past, trying to find the facts about who he and Jonathan really are, and in the process learns the price of the lies people tell in the name of truth and good intentions.

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    2 thoughts on “Swimming Across the Hudson

    1. Joshua Henkin s first novel, SWIMMING ACROSS THE HUDSON, was a Los Angeles Times Notable Book, and his second novel, MATRIMONY, was a NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK and has recently been released in paperback His short stories, essays, and reviews have appeared in numerous publications He lives in Brooklyn and teaches in the MFA programs at Sarah Lawrence College and Brooklyn College

    2. I LOVED this little book! Why did it take me fourteen years to find it? It's been out of print for a while now, another of those mysteries I'll never understand. Why do books this good simply disappear?! This is a delightful story, told in very simple and straightforward language, all about what it means to be loved and the paramount importance of family. On the surface it's about adoption, religion, sexual identity, maturity - all pretty heavy topics, to be certain. Its ingenuity is the way it [...]

    3. Another whopping disappointment. Henkin's other novel, Matrimony, was your classic three stars/mediocre book that held my interest enough to warrant trying him again. Well that was a mistake. This book read like every character had Aspergers. I don't know if that's even the right disorder, but everyone seemed incredibly awkward, socially inept and incapable of carrying on a funcitonal, relevant and interesting conversation. The characters had the maturity and insight of two year olds and Henkin [...]

    4. Ben and Jonathan Suskind are brothers born to different birth mothers, who were adopted by Orthodox Jewish parents and raised in a childhood punctuated by religion and scholarship. Separated by only a few months, they were nearly inseparable as children, attending the same schools, playing on the same sports teams, even going on double dates together. Both went to Yale, but as Jonathan pursued a career in medicine and came out of the closet, Ben felt fairly rudderless. He followed Jonathan to Sa [...]

    5. I know this book received mixed reviews and I assume that it appealed to me because I happen to be the right demographic. As a Jewish woman from NYC, who grew up during the same period as the main character, and who worked on the Lower East Side of NY, this story resonated with my experience. I suspect people who have been adopted might have a similar experience. I'm not sure this book would be enjoyable if I did not have a similar life experience because the book is really about ones inner expe [...]

    6. A Jewish family adopts two boys. The story is one of discovery and the tribulations of the mind of one of the adoptees.My granddaughter was place in a Chinese orphanage at the age of 3 days. My single daughter adopted her when she was one year old. She wonders about her birthmom and what she was like? Why did she leave her? What did she look like? The questions go on and on. Questioning and discoveries are tough to grow up with leaving one physically, emotionally in constant turmoil while the qu [...]

    7. A friend recommended this and I really enjoyed it. Benjamin and Jonathan are both adopted sons of an Orthodox couple. Now in their early 30s they have both left their orthodox upbringing. When Ben receives a letter from his birth mother all kinds of questions are raised about who he thinks he is, what it means to be Jewish and what it means to be adopted, well written and greT food for thought

    8. Absolutely a good read. I love Joshua Henkin. I read his books with ease and with an instant connection to the characters. This story of two adopted sons and their choices as to whether or not to meet their birth mothers as adults, has many layers and questions to consider. I liked the book a lot. It could have been longer. I loved the main character and his exploration of his faith and his journey towards love.

    9. On the bright side, it was better than I thought it was going to be! I read this for my English research project. It was hard to get a copy of it anywhere, but I thought it was going to be really boring and just bland. I actually like it, but it still wasn't all that great.

    10. I enjoyed and found it familiar on many levels. Being adopted, living inside an eruv, coming back to faith, complications of family, guilt in the looking, not sure what do do in the finding, connectedness. Simply written. Probably not for everyone.

    11. 30 something adoptee wondering about his birth parents, struggling w/ Jewish faith & identity. Family issues. Enjoyable.

    12. I enjoyed this book of brothers and their self examination. It got to the core of what it means to know your family. Through a series of lies the plot unfolds. It was a page turner for me.

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