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Hope: A Tragedy

A Novel

Shalom Auslander

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.

Description

The bestselling debut novel from Shalom Auslander, the darkly comic author of Foreskin’s Lament and Beware of God.

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.

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.


Publishers Weekly Review

Oct 31, 2011 – Cultural anthropologists trying to figure out if there really is a recognizably Jewish voice and sense of humor, and if so, how it mixes and matches its key elements of self-deprecation, mordant compliance, hypochondria, and a total lack of surprise when disaster occurs, should consider Auslander’s debut novel. The author’s memoir, Foreskin’s Lament, was about growing up in and leaving the Orthodox Jewish community; this novel’s hero, Solomon Kugel, isn’t observant, but he’s still locked into a relationship with a God he “could never believe in... but he could never not believe in, either.” And with a mother who insists she’s a Holocaust survivor, major money problems, a farmhouse that’s not only on the hit list of a local arsonist but also features an unwanted occupant in the attic, he’s fully immersed in what Philip Roth (an obvious influence, down to a shared obsession with Anne Frank) once called “the incredible drama of being a Jew.” Things start out hilarious and if the book wanes a bit as life keeps getting worse for Kugel, God’s plaything, that’s okay. As funny as it is, the novel is also a philosophical treatise, a response—ambivalent, irreverent, and almost certainly offensive to some—to the question of whether art and life are possible after the Holocaust, an examination of how to “never forget” without, as Kugel’s infamous attic occupant puts it, “never shutting up about it.”

Customer Reviews

Interesting concept

I heard the author give a reading cynical, funny, and mysterious. Instead it was repetitive and predictable. I grew to dislike the petty boringness of the main character so much I had to force myself to finish the book. Not worth the time.

Laughed Out Loud

This book was fantastic. Such unexpected and hilarious characters. I laughed out loud and kept wanting to share parts of it with someone, yet it's difficult to read an excerpt without having the full context. Off to download my next Shalom Auslander book!

Hope: A Tragedy
View In iTunes
  • $12.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Fiction & Literature
  • Published: Jan 12, 2012
  • Publisher: Penguin Group US
  • Seller: Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
  • Print Length: 368 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings

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