What if Anne Frank had lived? That's the premise of the new novel by Shalom Auslander, who made his name with the dark comic memoir Foreskin's Lament. Hope: A Tragedy is about a yuppie named Solomon Kugel who leaves New York City with his family for a rustic farmhouse. It turns out the house has a squatter, a crazy old lady hiding out in his attic who claims to be Frank.
Auslander dispells the suggestion that the woman is delusional. "She is Anne Frank, alright," he tells Kurt Andersen. She's been living in hiding, but displays a good knowledge of contemporary profanity. "Holocaust or no holocaust," Auslander says, "I think she was going to grow up kind of a difficult woman. And I like that! I like difficult people."
What sounds like the beginning of an absurd joke becomes a serious and philosophical book about the meaning of life, death, and how the Holocaust looms in modern Jewish consciousness.
Bonus Track: Kurt Andersen's full conversation with Shalom Auslander
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