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A Call from Jersey

3.46 of 5 stars 3.46  ·  rating details  ·  39 ratings  ·  15 reviews
With A Call From New Jersey Kluge has outdone himself with a long view of the American experience and the steady mutation of the American dream. Set in the1980's it follows the life of Hans Greifinger, a German-American who immigrated to the United States in 1928 and built a life for himself and his son, George, who has adopted the surname Griffin for his nationally-syndic ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published September 2nd 2010 by Overlook Books
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Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Rating: 2.5* of five

The Publisher Says: With A Call From New Jersey Kluge has outdone himself with a long view of the American experience and the steady mutation of the American dream. Set in the1980's it follows the life of Hans Greifinger, a German-American who immigrated to the United States in 1928 and built a life for himself and his son, George, who has adopted the surname Griffin for his nationally-syndicated lackluster travel column.

My Review: George Greifinger, successful travel-indust
Nicola Joy
A wonderfully told story of fathers, sons, and new beginnings, Kluge gives us plenty of fodder as we revel in the view points and stories of two narrators: German immigrant Hans Greifinger, and his very American, travel writing son George Griffin. Both men struggle with their tenuous relationship as they try to reconnect with one another.

The story begins through Hans eyes, as he steps off the boat from Germany into a new world and a new life. Like the old man lost in his memories, we forget ours
Tim Meneely
The hook of this book took a while to sink into me, but when it did I was reeled. It's a good reminder that in the right hands, the best dramas are always family dramas. I enjoy when writing takes the form of inter-generational voyeurism, as if seeing your parents as innocents enduring the troubles of early age (especially in the case of immigrants at the turn of the last century, straddling the old and new world in more ways than one - US and Germany, World War enemies, modernized acculturation ...more
The Goodreads consensus seems to be that "A Call From Jersey" isn't up to P.F. Kluge's usual standards. I would concur, though that doesn't mean it isn't an enjoyable journey.

"A Call From Jersey" touches on the German immigrant experience, father/son relationships, brother/brother relationships, notions of travel and home. The story is alternately told by a reminiscing (and, present-day, reconnecting) Hans Greifinger and his son, George Griffin, a globe-trotting travel writer dissatisfied with h
In the late 1920s, two German brothers arrived in New York City. Hans Greifinger took up janitorial work, married, and raised a son in New Jersey. His brother, Heinz, returned to Germany after only a brief stay in the United States. Hans hasn’t seen him since, save for a photograph brought back by his wife after a trip to Germany. In the photo, Heinz was wearing a Nazi uniform. Unable to fathom his brother’s involvement in WWII, Hans cut off contact.

That was years ago. A Call to Jersey begins wi
The entire time I was reading this book, I felt like I was missing something, like it was the sequel to a book I hadn't read. Relationships were written as though there was a lot of tension between characters, but nothing was developed enough (either in the backstory or the present story) for me to really care about where the tension came from, or whether it got resolved. Most of the characters seemed to just drift through the story, occasionally colliding with each other in encounters that were ...more
Max Kluge has succeeded in keeping me interested in this story that begins with boxing of all things. While the subject was out of my normal interest, I managed to get thru the beginning 2 chapters thinking I was going to have to tough it out...Well I ended up enjoying the story. He is a powerful writer, he gets the dialogue and descriptions just right.
He writes about the German-American immigrant experience during the war, father-son relations, & growing up, moving on, and coming home.
Aaron Mcilhenny
Kluge is gr8 at characterization, but a little iffy in terms of actual plot you know
Disappointing. I wanted to read another book by Kluge after finishing _Gone Tomorrow_ (which I loved). This one proved a poor choice: uninspired (and uninspiring) characters and a hackneyed moral. Worse still, the editor was apparently asleep on the job. In addition to numerous typos, two brief "chapters" changed narrators in mid-stream, as if neither the author nor editor could keep track of whose point of view was being presented.
Timothy Griffin
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It is, by no means, a unique or novel kind of tale, but Kluge tells the story and develops the characters wonderfully. A longing for home, a longing for place, and a son's relationship with his father; this book is about all of these, but it is also simply about choices. Now, I am going to see if I can find any other books by this author.
Another really good read from Kluge; I really appreciate his style and sense of how place affects a person. His novel weaves together different stories skillfully (at times, I wasn't sure who was who, but I got it straight), and his final scene at the class reunion is pretty fantastic. Some very powerful and memorable lines. I'm going to keep reading everything I can by him.
George is a travel writer based in NYC who believes he's shaken his NJ roots, and pretty much ended (having endured) a relationship with his German-born father, Hans. He returns to Jersey for his 20th high school reunions, realizes how much he's missed having a home, and settles down in his dad's house to see if home is all it's rumored to be.
Charming literary fiction that is a multi generational family saga. Captures 1980’s New Jersey geography and settings on a level with Richard Ford, and equals this writer’s character development.
It was kind of a slow read and it took me a while to get into it. I really like the contrast of old world versus new, then getting to watch them meet in the middle.
To call this "feel good" or "nice" would undercut its seriousness but its hard to read this without breaking into a smile at what Kluge has done.
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P.F. Kluge attended Kenyon College and the University of Chicago, and served in the U.S. Peace Corps (in Micronesia). He has worked as a reporter at the Wall Street Journal and as an editor at Life magazine. He has written for numerous publications, including Playboy, Rolling Stone, and Smithsonian, and is a contributing editor at National Geographic Traveler. As Writer-in-Residence at Kenyon, Klu ...more
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