Friday, July 6, 2012
Hope: A Tragedy by Shalom Auslander
"It's funny: it isn't the fire that kills you, it's the smoke."
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 has ever happened there, which is exactly why Solomon Kugel, like other urbanites fleeing their pasts and histories, decided to move his family there.
To begin again. To start anew. But it isn't quite working out that way for Kugel. . . .
His 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 very quickly 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." -- from the inside flap
From the first page to the last, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I especially liked Solomon's quest for the perfect dying words and his conversations with the doctor and the person in his attic.
Date read: 7/5/2012
Book #: 26
Rating: 4*/5 = great
# of pages: 292