Tue January 24, 2012
Book Nook: Hope: a Tragedy, by Shalom Auslander
Anne Frank was the most famous, the most tragic, and the most iconic victim of the Holocaust. She would have remained merely one of the millions of little known victims - then someone found her "Diary" and her story became well known. That book has sold over 30 million copies so far.
The haunting image of this tragic young woman hangs heavy over the literary world. Her legend lives on in memory and in books. Shalom Auslander takes a rather different approach in his novel "Hope : a Tragedy." He imagines that Anne Frank actually survived and that she is still in hiding. She would be in her eighties by now.
Solomon Kugel has bought a house and makes the shocking discovery that the elderly woman in his attic, the one typing a manuscript, claims to be Anne Frank. Thus begins a madcap journey. Her presence in the attic triggers a cascade of circumstances that drastically alter Kugel's life. Shalom Auslander performs a literary magic trick here: he has taken this most unfunny of subjects; the Holocaust, and written a book that is wry, darkly amusing, ironic, politically incorrect, and downright humorous.