Nominated for the Koret Award for writers under thirty-five, Shalom Auslander has published articles in Esquire, the New York Times Magazine, Tablet, and the New Yorker, and has had stories aired on NPR’s This American Life. He is the author of the short-story collection Beware of God and the memoir Foreskin’s Lament.
Blackly hilarious, dangerously subversive, extraordinarily bold – this is liable to be the most controversial novel of the year
Solomon Kugel wishes for nothing more than to be nowhere, to be in a place with no past, no history, no wars, no genocides. The rural town of Stockton, New York, is famous for nothing: No one was born there, no one died there, nothing of any import has ever happened there, which is exactly why Kugel decided to move his family there. To begin again. To start anew.
But it isn’t quite working out that way. 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 he bought, and he fears his is next. And when, one night, Kugel discovers history – a living, breathing, thought-to-be-dead specimen of history – hiding in his attic, bad very quickly becomes worse.
Like nothing you’ve read before, the critically acclaimed Shalom Auslander’s debut novel is a hilarious and disquieting examination of the burdens and abuse of history, propelled with unstoppable rhythm and filled with existential musings and mordant wit.