Saturday, July 28, 2012
Book Review: "Swimming across the Hudson" by Joshua Henkin
When one day Ben receives a letter from his birth mother, asking if he'd be willing to meet her, it completely throws him for a loop. He encourages Jonathan to search for his birth parents as well so they can share the anxiety of this experience, but Jonathan refuses. As Ben begins a relationship with his natural mother, it leads to fractures in his relationship with Jenny, an unsettling disclosure from his parents, and a general uncertainty about his future. And it causes Ben to take actions he immediately regrets.
Joshua Henkin is a terrific storyteller, and having read both his newest book, the magnificent The World Without You, and his earlier book, the equally superlative Matrimony, it was interesting to read this, his first novel. While I found Ben to be a frustrating and unsympathetic character from time to time, Henkin helps you understand the motivations behind his actions. This is a book about family, identity, religion, relationships, and coping with life's uncertainty. Once again, Joshua Henkin has made me a fan.