I really, really wanted to love this book. Auslander's Foreskin's Lament is one of the funniest books I've ever read--it had me laughing out loud over and over again--so I had high hopes for his first novel. But Hope: A Tragedy reads like a cross between Franz Kafka and Woody Allen, with all the worst excesses of each, and I was, unfortunately, disappointed.
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.
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