HOPE A TRAGEDY SHALOM AUSLANDER PDF

It would have been interesting to have been a fly on the wall when Shalom Auslander pitched the idea for his latest book to his agent. One imagines the conversation would have gone something like this: "I want to write about the Holocaust. That sells. The brilliance of Hope: A Tragedy is that it pulls off this potentially offensive conceptual feat with devastating aplomb.

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By Janet Maslin Jan. He hopes the tapping sounds in the attic are being made by nothing worse than mice. No such luck. The tapping is from a typewriter. And the typist, a stooped, foul-mouthed old lady who does not suffer fools gladly, is the single person about whom Jewish writers most avidly fantasize: Anne Frank.

Other fiction writers have gotten this fresh with Anne Frank. He is an absurdist with a deep sense of gravitas. As a man who becomes involved with a famously and totally unattainable woman, Mr. When Kugel first encounters the old bat claiming to be Anne, he is too dumbfounded to be diplomatic. Indignantly, he calls her an insult to the memory of the young girl who died in Auschwitz.

She was imprisoned in both. Image Credit William P. Auslander writes. In his first novel, Mr. He is clearly serious about the question of where optimism fits into Jewish history and tradition. He treats Anne Frank as the living embodiment of ambivalence: Is she really better off alive when the story of her death has become so cherished?

Would anyone want to read the story of her later life, the one she has spent decades trying to write? Henpecked, hangdog Kugel has an analyst named Professor Jove who shoots down his every upbeat thought. He says that optimism is a delusion, that no chicken ever has a good reason for crossing a road. Throughout the book, Kugel tests this philosophy and takes it to heart.

An image to which Mr. Auslander often returns is that of the Bergen-Belsen photograph in which most of the male prisoners are confined to bunks, while one naked, emaciated man stands half-smiling on the right side of the frame.

Is there hope in that smile? What does he hope for? To live or to die? Auslander to raise an essentially comic novel to this level of moral contemplation. The prize is a crown of thorns and eternal victimhood. Jesus was a Jew, Mr. This book never aspires to be pious or politically correct.

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Anne Frank, Still Writing in the Attic

By Janet Maslin Jan. He hopes the tapping sounds in the attic are being made by nothing worse than mice. No such luck. The tapping is from a typewriter. And the typist, a stooped, foul-mouthed old lady who does not suffer fools gladly, is the single person about whom Jewish writers most avidly fantasize: Anne Frank.

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Hope: A Tragedy

Shelves: misery-loves-company 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 andyescertainly draconian, he believed a better life was in The title of Hope: A Tragedy alludes to the philosophy of a radically cynical character in the novel named Professor Jove. Although his methods strike us as cruel and—yes—certainly draconian, he believed a better life was in fact possible i. Hope begets disappointment; recurring disappointment begets misery. At least, not without meds.

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