To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
Hope: A Tragedy: A Novel Hardcover – January 12, 2012
See the Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
“A caustic comic tour de force.” – NPR
“Poisonously funny…. Like an unintentional bark of laughter at a funeral.” – Entertainment Weekly
“Staggeringly nervy… Other fiction writers have gotten this fresh with Anne Frank. But they don’t get much funnier… [Auslander] is an absurdist with a deep sense of gravitas… It’s a tall order for Mr. Auslander to raise an essentially comic novel to this level of moral contemplation. Yet Hope: A Tragedy succeeds shockingly well.” – New York Times
“Shalom Auslander writes like some contemporary comedic Jeremiah, thundering warnings of disaster and retribution. What makes him so terrifyingly funny is that he isn’t joking.” — Howard Jacobson, author of The Finkler Question and winner of the Man Booker Prize
“A wonderful, twisted, transgressive, heartbreaking, true, and hugely funny book. It will make very many people very angry. It will also make very many people very happy.” — A. L. Kennedy, author of Day
“Can the darkest events of the twentieth century and of all human history be used to show the folly of hope? And can the result be so funny that you burst out laughing again and again? If you doubt this is possible, read Hope: A Tragedy. You won’t regret it.” — John Gray, author of Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals
About the Author
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
I should hasten to add that I'm a huge fan of irreverence and not at all opposed to dark humor, which this book has in spades. It's just that Hope: A Tragedy is so over the top that it eventually lost me. Auslander keeps playing the same bits over and over again, and while they may have been amusing the first or second time, by the fourth or fifth, all I could do was roll my eyes.(I'm thinking specifically of his hero, Solomon's, habit of putting store-bought vegetables in his demented mother's garden patch each morning to fool her into thinking she'd grown them, as well as the incessant references to the smell accompanying the unwanted house guest camped out in the attic, and his mother's endless faux references to being a Holocaust survivor.) Although I kept reading, the book started wearing on me to the point where I just wanted to finish it and move on.
I know from Foreskin's Lament what an extraordinarily gifted writer Auslander is, and I'll look forward to his future efforts, but this one didn't work for me.
Unfortunately, Mr. Auslander's comic skills are not enough to save Hope: A Tragedy. There are numerous problems here but the biggest is that there is not a single really likeable character in the book. Anne Frank is a foul-mouthed terror, Kugel's mother labors under the fantasy of being a Holocaust survivor, the townspeople around Kugel are all liars, cheats, and/or arsonists. His wife is understandable, at least, but hard to sympathize with since Kugel is the center of the novel.
As for Kugel himself, the reader cannot sympathize with him either. Auslander seems to want to make him sympathetic but his decision-making process is so ridiculous that he is unbelievable. Kugel wants to have hope for the future, for his family, which is admirable. His shrink, Jove (what's in a name?), constantly advises him to forget hope, forget happiness, and just get on with life. But why are having hope and getting on with life mutually exclusive?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I bought this book because Auslander is also the mind behind the TV series 'HAPPYish', which I found brilliant, intelligent and funny. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Daryl Ilbury
Great story line and highly creative idea. Too drawn out and lengthy at least for the middle third of the novel. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Rene
Sarcasm, guilt, and a shrewy Anne Frank....what's not to like? I read this over a year ago and still think of it!Published 13 months ago by E. Sanford
I guess I just don't get it but I hated this book. It seemed a great concept - how amazing it would be to find Anne Frank in your attic. Read morePublished 17 months ago by pk
Goldstein is standing on the street corner.
A man he doesn’t know comes up to him.
“You Goldstein?” the man asks.
Goldstein looks at the man he doesn’t know. Read more
Strong fresh voice. Wild and provocative. A little meandering keeps it from a five star readPublished 18 months ago by Robert Sherman