Review: 'Hope: A Tragedy'

A new novel from Shalom Auslander includes among its characters, Anne Frank. In Hope: A Tragedy, she survived the Holocaust and is discovered hiding in the attic of a house in rural New York state being rented by the book's main character. Alan Cheuse, a writing teacher at George Mason University, has a review.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish. Now, a review of the latest book by Shalom Auslander. It's a novel that incorporates a bizarre representation of one of history's most tragic heroines. Our reviewer, Alan Cheuse, says the book is surprising - and infuriating.

ALAN CHEUSE, BYLINE: "Hope: A Tragedy" is a rambling, quasi-philosophical comedy about a young Jewish business writer and his family, who buy a house in rural New York. They find that their purchase has included a whole lot more than they bargained for. The protagonist, Solomon Kugel, discovers there's a secret tenant in the attic - none other than Holocaust writer-victim Anne Frank. The iconic Anne Frank, now very old, miraculously survived the Nazi death camps and took up residence in this bucolic enclave, camping in Kugel's attic and writing a book about her life.

Kugel targets, in scattergun fashion, all sorts of social worries, such as anti-Semitism; and oddities from gluten allergies to the tanning fad to the real estate business. He works up his biggest sweat, though, about Anne Frank hiding out in his attic. The novel itself glides smoothly along, strongly out Woody-ing Woody Allen in its constant fretfulness; and utterly charming in its wacky devotion to the main character's abiding doubts and darkest fears.

CORNISH: "Hope: A Tragedy" is by Shalom Auslander. Our reviewer is Alan Cheuse.

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