Danny's Reviews > Hope: A Tragedy

Hope by Shalom Auslander
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's review
Feb 12, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: library-book
Read from January 27 to February 12, 2012

Remember when "Life is Beautiful" came out and everyone was all "How can they make a comedy about the Holocaust?!?!" And then they saw it and were like "Oh...that's how."

Well, this is a funny book about the Holocaust, but it's not really much like "Life is Beautiful" because the humor is preeeeeetty dark. Bleak, even. You may be offended. I'm just letting you know.

Sol Kugel moves into a house in a town with no history. Unfortunately he finds a piece of history in his attic in the form of a woman who claims to be Anne Frank. Yes, Anne Frank. And she is a doozy. Kugel moves through the book trying to figure out how to handle the situation, dealing with deteriorating finances (Anne Frank's got to eat!), a crumbling family life (Anne Frank is not the best house guest.), and a therapist who believes that optimism is the worst thing that could happen to humanity. Here's some of his advice: "Here's a good rule for life, Kugel, no matter where you happen to live or when you happen to be born: when someone rises up and promises that things are going to be better, run. Hide. Pessimists don't build gas chambers."

It's an odd book, focused mostly on the weight of the past and how to best live our lives in the present. It's about guilt, and hope, and which one is the stronger force.

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