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.
‘A wonderful, twisted, trangressive, heartbreaking, true, and hugely funny book. It will make very many people angry. It will also make very many people very happy.’ A. L. Kennedy, author of Day
‘Auslander writes like some contemporary comedic Jeremiah, thundering warnings of disaster and retribution. What makes him so terrifyingly funny is that he isn’t joking.’ Howard Jacobson, author of The Finkler Question, winner of the Man Booker Prize
‘Can the darkest events of the twentieth century and of all human history be used to show the folly of hope? And can the result be so funny that you burst out laughing again and again? If you doubt this is possible, read Hope: A Tragedy. You won't regret it.’ John Gray, author of Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals