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Hope: A Tragedy: A Novel

by Shalom Auslander

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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5645043,046 (3.51)26
Relocating his family to an unremarkable rural town in New York in the hopes of starting over, Solomon Kugel must cope with his depressive mother, a local arsonist, and the discovery of a believed-dead historical specimen hiding in his attic.

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» See also 26 mentions

English (49)  Dutch (1)  All languages (50)
Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
Excellent black humor. ( )
  monicaberger | Jan 22, 2024 |
I feel like this book had too many unanswered questions. Like why Will Jr. burned down all the barns, and what the heck was Anne Frank's manuscript, and what happened Bree, Jonah and Sol's mom. I did, however, like the reoccurring theme of hope... being a tragedy... ( )
  astronomist | Oct 3, 2021 |
Kirkus rec
  wordloversf | Aug 14, 2021 |
Adult fiction; neurotic Jew finds living Anne Frank in his attic. Interesting humor (not laugh out loud funny, more of an unexpected twistiness) but overall not one of my favorite reads this year. ( )
  reader1009 | Jul 3, 2021 |
"Hope: A Tragedy" by Shalom Auslander is about Solomon Kugel who leaves NYC for the suburbs with his wife Bree, his son Jonah aged three, and his elderly, dying mother. Although his mother was born in NYC in 1945 where generations of her family have lived, she believes she was interned in a concentration camp during the Holocaust. This fixation probably drove her husband away when Kugel and his sister were children.

One night Kugel cannot sleep because of tapping noises coming from the attic. He investigates and finds a very old woman who claims she is Anne Frank who survived the Holocaust. The tapping noise comes from Anne's typing her new book.

Anne has lived her life in people's attics since the Holocaust. She now resides in the attic of Kugel’s farmhouse. Anne sleeps during the day and writes at night, similarly to how she and her family hid during the Holocaust.

Kugel’s finding Anne totally upends his life. Ultimately, he loses his tenant, his job, and the affections of his wife. He is unable to throw Anne Frank out -- after all, how could a Jew throw Anne Frank out of an attic? Wasn't that what the Nazis did? Meanwhile, his mother, after meeting Anne, stops focusing on her false Holocaust memories and works with Kugel to take care of Anne. And, in the midst of all this, an arsonist is loose in town, torching farmhouses like Kugel's.

Auslander’s upbringing in an ultra-Orthodox Jewish family in Monsey, NY, which he left behind certainly permeates his work and his irreverent sense of humor. The reviewer, Sam Leith of The Guardian, said of Auslander: "Anyone who has read Auslander before will know that when I say 'applies his satirical scalpel,' I mean something more like 'tosses a hand-grenade and runs away laughing'.” Auslander may not be for everyone but he reminds one of Samuel Beckett, Franz Kafka, Groucho Marx, and David Sedaris.

His latest book, "Mother for Dinner," is about cannibal-Americans, a proxy for Jews, and their difficulties assimilating in America while maintaining their traditions and religious practices, including eating their dead relatives.

Roberta Gerson ( )
  TBSNeedham | Mar 31, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Shalom Auslanderprimary authorall editionscalculated
Gall, JohnCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Original publication date
Important places
Important events
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First words
It's funny: it isn't the fire that kills you, it's the smoke.
In the attic.
A ticking?
A tapping.
As if some mouse were gently crapping, crapping on his attic floor.
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Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Original language
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Wikipedia in English


Relocating his family to an unremarkable rural town in New York in the hopes of starting over, Solomon Kugel must cope with his depressive mother, a local arsonist, and the discovery of a believed-dead historical specimen hiding in his attic.

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Book description
On retrouve toute la verve et l'imagination iconoclaste de ce jeune écrivain , bien décidé à s'en servir pour démontrer les nuisances de tout fondamentalisme
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Average: (3.51)
1 8
1.5 1
2 16
2.5 3
3 45
3.5 10
4 54
4.5 9
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