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Hope A Tragedy [PDF] ✪ Hope A Tragedy ✩ Shalom Auslander – Natus-physiotherapy.co.uk FROM THE CREATOR OF SHOWTIME'S HAPPYISHThe bestselling debut novel from Shalom Auslander the darkly comic author of Foreskin’s Lament and Beware of GodA New York Times Notable Book 2012 The rural to FROM THE CREATOR OF SHOWTIME'S HAPPYISHThe bestselling debut novel from Shalom Auslander the darkly Hope A PDF or comic author of Foreskin’s Lament and Beware of GodA New York Times Notable Book 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 thereTo begin again To start anew But it isn’t uite working out that way for KugelHis 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 uickly 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.

10 thoughts on “Hope A Tragedy

  1. Elyse Walters Elyse Walters says:

    Update a good friend of mind just read this and reminded me how much I enjoyed this comictragic GEM I still own my bookYou can’t have my copy It makes me laugh too much But I’ve give this book to others many times I bought stacks when it went on sale years ago at Barnes and NobleI really don’t understand why some readers were offended or didn’t care for itI know some ‘Jewish’ people from my temple who felt it was in bad taste Maybe? I absolutely loved it so sue me? AND I believe many readers will like this book It’s for when you’re in the mood for a ‘good’ comictragic book Hilarious writing burst out laughing over and over again Andthen 'again' You won't NOT be able to share the 'hot' lines with your close family and friends Twisted some of the lines are you'll want to remember Note this is taken out of context won't make much sense without reading but I died laughing atHis stomach was anti semitic Dozen of other funny uotes or why did childrfen always draw the sun smiling? Its a giant ball of fire kids Its rage and fury Whatever its doing it isn't fing smiling Hope A tragedy is a contemporary comedic Jewish tragedy a book of this type does not get much betterThis young author has just met his match with Jonathan Tropper and Philip Roth if you don't believe me'blow me' Sorry couldn't help myself ha ha The blow me just sounds like something the character Soloman Kugel might say Soloman Kugel is one heck of a funny protagonist add the supporting characters his mother his wife the old bag in the attic etc and this is one book filled with characters and great funny writing you don't want to missNOTE My good friend started reading this along with me he ordered the audio I got excited and wanted to hear his the audio voice However maybe because I had already read a decent amount of the book in my imagination I heard a 'different' and 'older' voice than what was on the audio Then I soon come to learn that the author is just a KID a talented young man under the age of 35 WOW but in my 'head' I was hearing a different type of voice for Solomon Jewish Grummy sounding guyand older The audio voice the author I suppose was of a calm man as in just 'reading' a story I didn't 'feel' the flavor of his writing as much as I did from the 'reading of the book itself' I'll have to ask my friend I suppose he's almost done with the book now if the voiceaudio added or took away from the story for him This book was a surprise gemTwisted humor at its best

  2. David David says:

    The title of Hope A Tragedy alludes to the philosophy of a radically cynical character in the novel named Professor Jove In lieu of malice and misfortune Jove blames human misery simply on hope despite continual evidence to the contrary humans still foolishly hope for the best and believe a good reasonably happy life is somehow attainable In this theory of hope Hitler becomes an optimist Although his methods strike us as cruel and—yes—certainly draconian he believed a better life was in fact possible ie by the elimination of the Jews and other undesirables and a subordination of inferior cultures to the German way Hope begets disappointment; recurring disappointment begets misery Had Hitler survived we wouldn't expect him to be happy At least not without medsThe inside jacket plot description of Shalom Auslander's Hope A Tragedy is somewhat misleading It seems to suggest that the main thread of the novel is about a maniacal arsonist who terrorizes the town of Stockton New York and its environs by setting farmhouses ablaze But no The central plot is about Solomon Kugel an exurban who moves his family to this bucolic setting only to discover that the aged decrepit cantankerous Anne Frank is living in the attic of his new home—defecating in his forced air registers and writing a smutty novel This is not a spoiler The revelation occurs on page 25In other words the novel is a tragical farce Now some people aren't able to deal with farce—and I understand that—in so far as it traffics in the most implausible and outlandish plot points imaginable Anne Frank in the attic is really only the tip of the iceberg Many contemporary readers are willing to suspend disbelief but only to a point Once that line is crossed they shut down and begin an adversarial relationship with the book If this is you avoid this book Please I don't want to read your whiny idiotic review about how completely unrealistic this book is It's a farce Farce is not Stephen Crane Shalom Auslander is obviously a funny highly irreverent read wonderfully offensive and witty writer but it's not all just for laughs There are some hard truths about life death and the burden of history here The second chapter for example is a profound monument scaffolded in humor to the death neurosis Maybe part of my appreciation of the novel is my strong identification with its fixations Should I be worried? Kugel askedYou should only worry said Sergeant Frankel about the things you can controlIf I could control them said Kugel they wouldn't worry meExactly said Sergeant FrankelExactly said I People who don't worry about death disturb me There's something defective about them There I've said it I've judged There is something wrong with those who cling to its inevitability as a reason not to worry about it No that's precisely the reason to worry about it idiots Anyway Kugel is an extreme exaggeration of many of my thoughts and feelings Distorted though they may be I recognize them easily here And yes I laugh at them What else can you do? I mean when you're not hyperventilating into a paper bag

  3. Rebecca Rebecca says:

    My top novel of 2012 In Auslander’s absurdist battle between optimism and pessimism momentous tragedy and mundaneness nothing is sacred – not the presidentially mandated virtue of hope; certainly not those Jewish “heroes” Anne Frank and Alan Dershowitz; not even the aesthetic guidelines for metaphorical language “the sun was in the sky like a something The breeze blew like a whatever”This debut novel is ferociously funny It takes the sarcasm and blasphemy of Auslander’s memoir Foreskin’s Lament to a whole new level of mordant wit There is something to make the reader laugh out loud on every page from the audacity and ridiculousness of some of his plot construction down to the twisted allusions to Genesis or Poe’s “The Raven” “It was evening it was morning it sucked”; “A tapping As if some mouse were gently crapping crapping on his attic floor”The plot is simple enough based on two facts the small suburban town of Stockton New York is experiencing a spate of arson attacks; and Anne Frank is alive and dwelling in Solomon Kugel’s attic where she is frantically tapping out her endless magnum opus a novel Kugel is a deliciously clichéd Jewish sad schmuck exasperated with his Holocaust obsessed mother who just won’t die falling behind in his job as a compost system salesman and trying to provide some semblance of a sane household for his longsuffering wife and three year old sonKugel’s psychiatric ‘help’ is provided by über pessimist Professor Jove the voice of the Almighty himself? who blames all the world’s problems on an excess of hope – hope that life will improve that humans can do anything to alter their fate The voice of Jove is contradicted by Kugel’s brother in law ‘Pinkus Stephenor’ – here Auslander makes no attempt to mask his caricature of Harvard professor Steven Pinker whose latest theory is that humanity has naturally evolved to become better ie less violent than in the bad old days when wars lasted a hundred years Auslander’s lampoonery might be a bit too facile but it is wickedly funnyThis was my most memorable book of the year – almost every individual scene has stayed in my mind Coming back to it months later I still remember all the outrageous things that made me laugh or made me shake my head in confusion Hope A Tragedy is an iconoclastic marvel as hilarious as it is horrific and a damn good read to bootRecommended reading as a pair with the short stories in What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank by Nathan EnglanderAlso enjoyably apposite is the following apparently real life dialogueCustomer Hi I just wanted to ask did Anne Frank ever write a seuel?Bookseller Customer I really enjoyed her first bookBookseller Her diary?Customer Yes the diaryBookseller Her diary wasn’t fictionalCustomer Really?Bookseller YesShe really dies at the end – that’s why the diary finishes She was taken to a concentration campCustomer Ohthat’s terribleBookseller Yes it was awful –Customer I mean it’s such a shame you know? She was such a good writerFrom Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops by Jen Campbell

  4. Lisa Lisa says:

    This book did not work for meIt should have It is a satire reportedly funny I love satire But I didn't think it was funny At all I did not laugh onceIts thesis statement is dethroning of heroes and reevaluation of historical events I love those topics I hated the way it was handled in this book thoughWhat went wrong? I have tried to put my finger on it and the only thing I can come up with is that the humour was slapstick immature vulgarity which I despise Instead of making me smile it made me cringe at the effect seeking bluntness and lack of finesse I don't mind strong or simplistic language per se if it makes sense but a whole novel with a long line of basic dialogues spiced up with godammits and fucks isn't exactly what I want to waste my time onAs for the dethroning of heroes It was the wrong person To me Anne Frank never was a hero just a human childlike voice in the darkest hour of history There is no need to dethrone her because she never aspired to be put on a throne Her diary consisting of reflections and thoughts on a much mature level than this so called satire has a place in my heart that I do not want to see trashed If the post war hero cult is to be made fun of I would rather see the people who put her on a piedestal ridiculed than her She was an innocent victim of the Holocaust PeriodThere is a tendency in contemporary literature to make fun of everything to buy an audience with cheap jokes I am not thrilled Maybe there is something wrong with my sense of humourNot recommended

  5. Elizabeth Elizabeth says:

    This book annoyed me to death I hated the characters I gave the book one star and the reason I did so was that I don’t have a lot of patience for characters like Kugel and his mother He was too Woody Allen like for me I hate Woody Allen movies for the same reason stop being so introspective and neurotic and start acting like a grownup That’s what I want to scream at the characters Also the entire premise that he couldn’t kick Anne Frank out because it would look bad on him was ridiculous to me Why didn’t he just bring her to the Jewish organization that he called to check on her? Why did he see it as “kicking her out” rather than “placing her in a comfortable environment” where she wouldn’t have to poop down the heating vents? That was just ridiculous to me Also ridiculous was his indulgence of his mother I didn’t find that funny which I know I was supposed to I just found it outrageously annoying Putting the vegetables out in the garden for her to find and letting her poop in the heating vents and letting her insult the tenant? Not funny to me I don’t find that movie “What About Bob?” funny either and I felt like this was similar one character’s neuroses and annoying habits are destroying another character’s life I just don’t find that funny at all So that’s why I gave it one star The whole Holocaust thing I can understand why Kugel was sick of itafter his mother pretending to be a victim of it and bringing it up constantly over the years and I thought the author wasn’t disrespectful of the Holocaust I thought the mother was by pretending to be part of it But that didn’t annoy me nearly as much as her unreasonableness

  6. Jason Furman Jason Furman says:

    Outrageously funny so wildly original you forgive a certain amount of repetitiveness a rude offspring of Philip Roth and Franz Kafka The sort of book where you constantly want to put it down and call everyone you know to read them the passages you just readSolomon Kugel is a neurotic obsessed with death who recently moved with his family to a farmhouse in upstate New York One night he hears noise coming from the attic goes up to investigate and discovers Anne Frank living up there But not just any Anne Frank but a cranky old foul mouthed one who is trying to write a book but laboring under the weight of her previous book which as she constantly reminds us sold 32 million copiesMeanwhile downstairs Kugel's Mother is obsessed with the Holocaust constantly invents stories about being a survivor along with bizarre claims like see this lamp it's your uncle but the sticker on it says Made in Taiwan Well they wouldn't put Made in Auschwitz on it would they This then gets repeated with a bar of ivory soapThe book explores optimism vs pessimism the former being personified in Kugel's brother in law Pinckus who appears to be a stand in for Stephen Pinker and the later in Kugel and his hilarious psychiatrist Professor JoveI don't want to spoil any you should just read it

  7. Jessica Jessica says:

    Whether or not you'll like Auslander's debut novel depends on how much you cling to the totemic narratives of history If you're not afraid to wrestle down those figures and interrogate the validity of their martyr status then you'll relish this supremely dark and twisty comedy of faith and modern life If you bristle at reconsidering why you worship the surviving narratives of history's darkest time then you won't like it at all Ultimately it's a novel that will speak to the most revisionist of us but provoke plenty of conversation either way I wanted to hate it but ultimately realized that it left me haunted with uestions for days after finishing it So I only urge you to read it if you'll come and tell me what you thought afterwardsRead my full review of this book at The Millions

  8. Kim Kim says:

    I’ve been called a Pollyannna Seriously I know right? Funny Granted Pollyanna is from Vermont and she does tend to look at the bright side of lifeand I do agree with the statement ‘Just breathing isn’t living’ but I draw the line at believing in stupid ‘glad’ games And this song is really irritating and doesn't at all describe me I much prefer this version and it’s not like I ALWAYS find the good in things I mean there is absolutely nothing good about that song ‘I’ve got the moves like Mick Jagger’ or baby seal clubbing but I digress of course Anyway I can still enjoy a good neurosis I am catholic after all I can look at a character like Solomon Kugel and totally get where his head is at He’s F U C K E D U P and I think I might just want to hug him He reminds me of a certain goodreader that I have hugged much to his chagrin ”Kugel loved life and so he expected far too much of it; hell bent on life he was terrified that someone would cause by violence or accident his untimely death Kugel in his own defense pointed out that he didn’t think anyone was actually trying to kill him he simply thought it well within the realm of possibility that somebody unbeknownst to him and for reasons yet to be revealed might be; there is a line he argued thin as it may be between paranoia and pragmatism”See? HUG Kugel thought specifically about the experience of dying He thought about the pain about the fear Most of all he thought about what he would say at the final moment; his ultima verba; his last words They should be wise he decided which is not to say morose or obtuse; simply that they should mean something amount to something They should reveal illuminate He didn’t want to be caught by surprise speechless gasping not knowing at the very last moment what to sayNo wait I oofI haven’t really given it much splatIf I could just ka blammoWe are all mankind a story collectively and individually and Kugel didn’t want his individual story to end in an ellipsis A period sure if you’re lucky An exclamation mark okay A uestion mark probably; that seemed the punctuation all stories collectively and individually should end with after all Not an ellipsis thoughAnything but an ellipsisHere I disagree I am a huge fan of ellipses I would love it if I ended in one That would be mysterious that would give someone if they wanted to a chance to continue the story Ellipses are infinity they are beautiful AnywayKugel was raised on the Holocaust It was his mother’s ‘go to’ it gave her a reason to go on she found that if she just muttered ‘Ever since the war’ and then ‘those sons of bitches’ that a whole new world would open up People were nicer commiserated stopped bothering her It didn’t matter that she was born in 1945 and grew up in Brooklyn happy healthy etc She was a victim She passed this on to her children ‘One evening when Kugel was eight years old Mother came to his bedroom brushed the hair from his brow and told him that it was time he learned about a terrible place known as Buchenwald She had a large book with her called The Holocaust and she showed him the photographs inside mass graves starved prisoners piles of naked corpses That’s your uncle she would say That’s your grandfather’s sister That’s your cousin’s father What’s that? Kugel asked pointing to the lamp shade she had placed beside him on the bed That she said with a sigh That’s your grandfather Then she buried her face in her hands and wept’Okay so you can see the foundation right? Guilt ridden Jew raised by crazy mom It’s Woody Allen you say? Yes I would agree but I actually like Kugel So imagine Kugel and his pragmatism buying an old farmhouse and trying to raise his son in a non hostile non Holocaust environment Seems the right thing to do Except he encounters a slight um glitch He finds an elderly woman “she was hideous horribly disfigured and terribly old—yellowed with age the left eye clouded with cataracts dead unseeing Her skin sallow and gray was thin almost transparent; the hair on her head what there was of it was sparse in some places bare in others Her shoulders hunched up around her ears and a massive hump on her back forced her skull forward so that she faced the ground head bowed even when looking straight ahead”Kugel meet Anne Frank Okay so the story goes and I won’t tell you you should read it It would make me happy if you read it but don’t get all defiant and uppity and crap Just read and enjoy Have a laugh and a cry eat a piece of Ezekial bread call your mom Just breathing isn’t living

  9. K K says:

    Whatever you want to say about Auslander as a Jew he is a talented writer As a novelist though he leaves a lot to be desiredAssuming you can tolerate Holocaust irreverence the concept behind this book was actually clever A Woody Allen esue neurotic Jew Solomon Kugel moves his wife child and mother to a farmhouse in the country only to discover a decrepit Anne Frank living in his attic There's a lot here The age old literary trope of discovering a crazy lady living in your attic and the symbolism there The idea that for many American Jews the crazy lady in the attic is the ghost of the Holocaust that's so difficult to shake no matter how comfortable we may get in America The irony of juxtaposing Kugel's mother a very much alive woman with an illusory though intense claim on Holocaust experiences with Anne Frank a supposedly dead woman with genuine Holocaust associations And what that means in terms of whether the Holocaust is alive or dead and the people trying to claim the Holocaust for themselves for their own endsI've said a lot but you may notice that I haven't mentioned plot Or characters You know the things most of us read novels for That's because there wasn't much of either in this novel We get a lot of Solomon Kugel's neurotic and nihilistic inner life ruminating on the concept of hope as something that brings us down Kugel's wife Bree is understandably frustrated with Kugel and his histrionic mother; Anne Frank is foul mouthed and demanding So much for characters I can't even say anything about plot because the situation was the plot Kugel feels he has to keep Anne Frank's existence a secret from his family members why? This was never uite clear to me while he struggles with the dilemma of what to do about her presence Kugel fears an arsonist burning down farmhouses in the neighborhood That about sums it upIt was a fast read but not fast enough actually as I found myself skimming the last half of the book So it's possible I missed something But I would say unless you're morbidly curious about what outrageous thing Auslander may have written in which case you'll probably be disappointed don't waste your time on this one

  10. Ryan Ryan says:

    A recent Facebook post of mine had read I can't wait until they release a 3D IMAX version of 'Schindler's List' Someone with whom I have a tenuous Facebook relationship declared that I was in poor taste I can't help but think how he would have felt about Auslander's novel Personally I found this novel saturated with biting sarcasm scathing bitterness and caustic cynicismand I loved every word There is no uestion that Auslander can write He's uick and vivid but that's not why this novel should be praised There is a brutal honesty to his story that I would imagine many have already responded with a disgusted how could he exploit the Jewish plight like that? Well for a number of reasonsTo begin with this novel isn't just about the Holocaust Certainly that is one of the many layers to Auslander's story but I think the overarching theme is shit hanging over our heads and how to deal with it For those who walked away disgusted would I would argue take the place of Kugel's mother It's always about the Holocaust according to her and she'll be damned if anyone argues differently But as Kugel so aptly diagnoses his mother in the novel people love to revel in their misery Relax It's not always about you And when it's not we need to find a way to make it so This lamp is your grandmother I have to say I loved the mother's bitterness towards her relatively peaceful youth which mutates into this jealousy at having not suffered the HolocaustRelax It's not always about the HolocaustI think the brilliance of this novel is that it stands as a big middle finger who have in the wake of the shit hitting the fan over the past decade become ultra sensitive to the point of becoming obnoxious twits Don't run that Mad Men ad it reminds us too much of 911 Don't write about fires in books with Jews It reminds us of the Holocaust Don't this Don't that It's shit hanging over my head Deal with it says Auslander Destroy it if you have to Stop hoping that people will don't this and don't that As dark and scathing as it is Auslander shows us that hope really is tragic Hope is just uainter way of saying I'd really like this to happen but it's easier to gripe about it and playing the victim is far too entertaining Plus wtf would I do if this utopia actually came to fruition? Hope he shows us segues into paranoia Kugel spends the bulk of his time painfully preoccupied with the 'what if's' which turn into the 'i hope that sound isn't this' or 'i hope that smell isn't that' Ultimately it's the hope that 'i don't have to deal with the shit hanging over my head' Maybe I completely misread this novel I suspect Auslander would hope I didn't read it expecting to find any specific moral or theme I hope you do the same

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