Riverhead Books, Hardcover, 9781594488382, 292pp.
Publication Date: January 12, 2012
The rural town of Stockton, New York, is famous for nothing: no one was born there, no one died there, nothing of any historical import at all has ever happened there, which is why Solomon Kugel, like other urbanites fleeing their pasts and histories, decided to move his wife and young son there.
To begin again. To start anew. But it isn t quite working out that way for Kugel
His ailing mother stubbornly holds on to life, and won t stop reminiscing about the Nazi concentration camps she never actually suffered through. To complicate matters further, some lunatic is burning down farmhouses just like the one Kugel bought, and when, one night, he discovers history a living, breathing, thought-to-be-dead specimen of history hiding upstairs in his attic, bad quickly becomes worse.
"Hope: A Tragedy" is a hilarious and haunting examination of the burdens and abuse of history, propelled with unstoppable rhythm and filled with existential musings and mordant wit. It is a comic and compelling story of the hopeless longing to be free of those pasts that haunt our every present.
A new novel from Shalom Auslander includes among its characters, Anne Frank. In Hope: A Tragedy, she survived the Holocaust and is discovered hiding in the attic of a house in rural New York state being rented by the book's main character. Alan Cheuse, a writing teacher at George Mason University, has a review. More at NPR.org
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