Hope by Shalom Auslander
A Tragedy: A Novel

78%

9 Critic Reviews

The novel itself glides smoothly along, strongly out Woody-ing Woody Allen in its constant fretfulness; and utterly charming in its wacky devotion to the main character's abiding doubts and darkest fears.
-NPR

Synopsis

A New York Times Notable Book 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.

 

About Shalom Auslander

See more books from this Author
Shalom Auslander has written for The New Yorker, Esquire, and The New York Times Magazine, and is a regular contributor to NPR’s This American Life. His short story collection Beware of God was published in 2005.
 
Published January 12, 2012 by Riverhead Books. 302 pages
Genres: Religion & Spirituality, Humor & Entertainment, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
Add Critic Review

Critic reviews for Hope
All: 9 | Positive: 7 | Negative: 2

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Janet Maslin on Jan 17 2012

Throughout the book, Kugel tests this philosophy and takes it to heart.

Read Full Review of Hope: A Tragedy: A Novel | See more reviews from NY Times

NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Steve Stern on Jan 13 2012

...Auslander’s novel embodies its own kind of unbearability: unbearable hilarity alternating with, at times, unbearable pain.

Read Full Review of Hope: A Tragedy: A Novel | See more reviews from NY Times

Guardian

Excellent
Reviewed by Elizabeth Day on Mar 03 2012

It is to Auslander's credit that he riffs expertly on the human condition while writing a book that is also uproariously funny.

Read Full Review of Hope: A Tragedy: A Novel | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Naomi Alderman on Feb 29 2012

...it's not much interested in plot. Kugel finds Anne Frank in his attic, his life spirals apart as you might expect. There's some business with a local arsonist, but no big surprises.

Read Full Review of Hope: A Tragedy: A Novel | See more reviews from Guardian

NPR

Good
Reviewed by Alan Cheuse on Mar 21 2012

The novel itself glides smoothly along, strongly out Woody-ing Woody Allen in its constant fretfulness; and utterly charming in its wacky devotion to the main character's abiding doubts and darkest fears.

Read Full Review of Hope: A Tragedy: A Novel | See more reviews from NPR

NPR

Good
Reviewed by Heller McAlpin on Jan 23 2012

This book is so wildly transgressive, it makes Foreskin's Lament, Auslander's 2007 memoir about fleeing his Jewish Orthodox upbringing, seem tame by comparison.

Read Full Review of Hope: A Tragedy: A Novel | See more reviews from NPR

NPR

Above average
Reviewed by Maureen Corrigan on Jan 11 2012

Auslander has said in interviews that he wanted to write a funny book about genocide — and he has succeeded. Whether or not you read it, however, will probably depend on whether you think some things and some people are just not funny...

Read Full Review of Hope: A Tragedy: A Novel | See more reviews from NPR

Globe and Mail

Excellent
Reviewed by Jonathan Garfinkel on Feb 03 2012

The book is dangerously funny, and the rants are fierce and pointed. In another writer’s hands, the Anne Frank conceit might seem gimmicky, but Auslander is a masterful comedian and talented stylist.

Read Full Review of Hope: A Tragedy: A Novel | See more reviews from Globe and Mail

LA Times

Above average
Reviewed by David L. Ulin on Jan 15 2012

Auslander offers that most human of declarations, the battle cry of the self-absorbed. And why not?

Read Full Review of Hope: A Tragedy: A Novel | See more reviews from LA Times

Reader Rating for Hope
65%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 190 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review
×