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In Hoboken

As the son of a folk singer whose suicide gained him cult status, Thatcher has a leg up on New York’s music scene. Instead, he decides to keep his parentage secret and take his guitar across the river to working class Hoboken, New Jersey to form a band. There, amidst the tenements and dive bars and all-night diners, Thatcher and his friends struggle to make meaningful music in a culture turning away from it. A wicked sense of humor turns out to be key for the motley crew: manager Marsh, the beloved, polio-stricken local rock and roll kingpin; lesbian singer/songwriter Lou, to whom Thatcher is deeply attracted; James, guitar virtuoso and daytime World Trade Center employee, not to mention owner of the floor Thatcher is sleeping on; and locals such as Orris, the overweight, half-blind, prophet of Hoboken’s west side, and patient at the mental health clinic where Thatcher is a clerk. As in Roddy Doyle’s The Commitments and Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity, the music is at the heart of it all. But in In Hoboken the place and the people turn out to be just as inspiring.

CHRISTIAN BAUMAN is author of the novels Voodoo Lounge (Touchstone, 2005) and The Ice Beneath You (Touchstone, 2002), a regular contributor to NPR’s All Things Considered, and an editor-at-large for He lives with his wife and daughters in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.


”Bauman writes with precision, in prose that reverberates… strong, compelling work.” —Robert Stone

Check out Chris’s playlist for In Hoboken on the New York Times’ Paper Cutsblog New York Times

“… a tour de force.” The Newark Star–Ledger

”Bauman is an incredible writer. [In Hoboken] is one of those books—like Lethem when he’s cooking, or Chabon at his most vibrant—when every line snaps and propels you forward.” —Paul Constant, The Stranger 

”[Bauman writes] a female voice that rings so true that it makes me want to hunt down every person who ever raved to me about how well Wally Lamb ’got’ women in She’s Come Undone and force them to read this book.” —Jen Crispin,

While the book is a work of fiction, it aptly captures the early music scene—namely the musicians who came to Hoboken with little else but a dream and a guitar strapped over their shoulders. Hoboken Reporter