Shalom Auslander has never shied from controversial topics. His book Foreskin’s Lament was a humorous look at the Jewish ritual of circumcision, and his new book Hope: A Tragedy covers sadly familiar territory: the Holocaust. Here’s a description:
The rural town of Stockton, New York, is famous for nothing: No one was born there, no one died there, nothing of any historical import at all has ever happened there, which is why Solomon Kugel, like other urbanites fleeing their pasts and histories, decided to move his wife and young son 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 when, one night, Kugel discovers history-a living, breathing, thought-to-be-dead specimen of history-hiding upstairs in his attic, bad quickly becomes worse.
For Hope, his first novel, Auslander made a book trailer. But this is no ordinary book trailer – it opens with Auslander calling his friend Ira Glass, host of NPR’s “This American Life,” and asking whether he could hide in his attic if there were another Holocaust. Well, that is one way to market a book.