A New York Times Notable Book 2012
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 for Kugel?
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 Kugel bought, and when, one night, he discovers history?a living, breathing, thought-to-be-dead specimen of history?hiding upstairs in his attic, bad quickly becomes worse.
Hope: A Tragedy is a hilarious and haunting examination of the burdens and abuse of history, propelled with unstoppable rhythm and filled with existential musings and mordant wit. It is a comic and compelling story of the hopeless longing to be free of those pasts that haunt our every present.
Baker & Taylor
Deliberately relocating his family to an unremarkable rural town in New York in the hopes of starting over, Solomon Kugel finds his efforts challenged by his depressive mother, a local arsonist and the discovery of a believed-dead historical specimen hiding his attic. A first novel.
Relocating his family to an unremarkable rural town in New York in the hopes of starting over, Solomon Kugel must cope with his depressive mother, a local arsonist, and the discovery of a believed-dead historical specimen hiding in his attic.
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This, said Mother, as she handed him a piece of dry, tasteless matzoh, is the bread of our affliction.
Where, young Kugel wondered, is the seven-layer cake of our salvation? Where is the muffin of our mirth? Where is our no-longer-reduced-to-jelly doughnut?
Just eat it, Mother said.
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