Hope: A Tragedy by Shalom Auslander

Hope: A Tragedy

Shalom Auslander

In this allegorical take on Jewish neurosis and survivor guilt, Auslander treads a fine line between iconoclasm and tasteless irreverence, but his ironic humour saves the satire from offensiveness. The novel’s style and characterisation has all the surreal flavour of a Woody Allen stand up routine and if you appreciate black comedy and Jewish humour, you’ll love this – just don’t hope for a happy ending!

Extract

Fucking Ezekiel, he thought. How difficult could it be to be a prophet, anyway? Predict the absolute worst horrors you can imagine - persecutions, atrocities, fires, floods, famine - and odds are pretty good they'll come to be ...
Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel - each one foresaw more misery than the one before, and what did that abject pessimism, that supernal, sorrowful, suffocating cynicism get them? It got them their own books in the Bible, that's what. Not little ones, either - fifty, sixty chapters a piece. You know who didn't get his own book in the Bible? The guy who said, It’s going to be okay, folks; honestly, I think it’s coming around. Nostradamus was no idiot - if he'd predicted peace, calm, and sunny skies we wouldn't know his name today.

Parallels
  • What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank by Nathan Englander
  • The Ghost Writer by Philip Roth
  • Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut