Peter Jungk

  • Gustav Rubin, a fur dealer in Vienna, flies to New York to spend the summer with his wife and two young children in a lake house north of the city. When he arrives late at JFK, he is met by his opinionated, unrelenting mother, Rosa. They rent a car and set out for Lake Gilead. But Gustav loses his way, and son and mother end up on the wrong side of the river. Trying to find the right route north, they become trapped on the Tappan Zee Bridge in the traffic jam of all traffic jams-a truck transporting toxic chemicals has turned over-and Gustav and Mother remain gridlocked high above the Hudson River. Gustav begins to think of his beloved father, a renowned intellectual, now eleven months dead. Then, in a surprising, highly original twist worthy of Kafka, both Gustav and Mother see the body - "the colossal, golem-like fatherbody" - of Ludwig David Rubin floating naked in the waters below.
    Crossing the Hudson is a profound meditation on a Jewish family and its past, especially the lasting distorting effects on a son of a famous, vital father and a clinging, overwhelming mother, and of the differences between the generation of European intellectual refugees who arrived in the United States during the Second World War and the children of that generation.

  • Peter Stephan Jungk raconte la vie ardente de sa grand-tante, la photographe autrichienne Edith Tudor-Hart qui, réfugiée en Angleterre dans les années 1930, a recruté pour le compte de l'URSS Kim Philby, le plus célèbre des "Cinq de Cambridge".

  • The Perfect American is a fictionalized biography of Walt Disney's final months, as narrated by Wilhelm Dantine, an Austrian cartoonist who worked for Disney in the 40s and 50s, illustrating sequences for Sleeping Beauty. It is also the story of Dantine himself, who desperately seeks Disney's recognition at the risk of his own ruin.
    Peter Stephan Jungk has infused a new energy into the genre of fictionalized biography. Dantine, imbued with a sense of European superiority, first refuses to submit to Disney's rule, but is nevertheless fascinated by the childlike omnipotence of a man who identifies with Mickey Mouse. We discover Walt's delusions of immortality via cryogenic preservation, his tirades alongside his Abraham Lincoln talking robot, his invitation of Nikita Khruschev to Disneyland once he learns that the Soviet Premier wants to visit the park, his utopian visions of his EPCOT project, and his backyard labyrinth of toy trains. Yet, if at first Walt seems to have a magic wand granting him all his wishes, we soon discover that he is as tortured as the man who tells his story.
    After Disney refuses to acknowledge Dantine's self-professed talent and hard work, he fires the frustrated cartoonist for writing, along with other staff members, an anonymous polemical memorandum regarding Disney's jingoistic politics. Years later, in the late 60s, still deeply wounded by his dismissal, Dantine follows Disney's trail to capture what makes Walt tick. Dantine wants us to grasp what it is like to live and breathe around the man who thought of himself as more famous than Santa Claus. Walt's wife Lillian, his confidante and perhaps his mistress Hazel, his brother Roy, his children Diane and Sharon, his close and ill-treated collaborators, and famous figures such as Peter Ustinov, Salvador Dali, Andy Warhol, and Geraldine Chaplin, all contribute to the novel's animation, its feel for the life of the Disney world.
    This deeply researched work not only provides interesting interpretations of what made Walt Disney a central figure in American popular culture, but also explores the complex expectations of gifted European immigrants who came to the United States after World War II with preconceived notions of how to achieve the American dream.

  • Les Quarante Jours du Musa Dagh est un des chefs-d'oeuvre du roman historique moderne. II a pour cadre la Première Guerre mondiale. L'Empire ottoman est l'allié de l'Allemagne. En 1915, dans un climat alourdi par leurs revers dans le Caucase, les Jeunes Turcs procèdent à la liquidation des élites urbaines arméniennes et des conscrits arméniens qu'ils ont préalablement désarmés. On organise alors systématiquement sur l'ensemble du territoire la déportation des populations arméniennes qui sont exterminées en chemin, au cours du premier génocide du XXe siècle.
    Au nord-ouest de la Syrie ottomane, les villageois arméniens groupés aux flancs du Musa Dagh ("la Montagne de Moïse") refusent la déportation et gagnent la montagne. Ils résistent plus d'un mois durant aux assauts répétés des corps d'armée ottomans ; l'arrivée providentielle des navires français et anglais au large d'Alexandrette met fin à leur épreuve.
    A partir de ces épisodes authentiques, Franz Werfel a bâti un grand roman épique. C'est en 1929, lors d'un séjour à Damas, qu'il l'a entrepris. Le spectacle désolant d'enfants de réfugiés qui travaillaient dans une manufacture de tapis, mutilés et minés par la faim, fut le point de départ qui décida Werfel à ressusciter "l'inconcevable destinée du peuple arménien". L'oeuvre est achevée en 1933, peu après la montée au pouvoir de Hitler.
    C'est l'honneur de Franz Werfel que d'avoir - avec une sombre prémonition - ressenti de la compassion pour l'une des tragédies majeures de notre temps et de lui avoir donné son miroir le plus achevé.