J-Dubs Review of “Hope: A Tragedy A Novel” by Shalom Auslander

In place of tunes we have book club. Yay to multi-media. Time to get started.

I almost didn’t review this book calling it un-PC but in actuality the story is satire. Or my layperson’s definition of satire. Kind of cool that the kidlet recommended even though he couldn’t finish the book. He said he’ll pick it up again once his own personal demons pass. He’s very astute and realized what would happen before it happened. The theme in a way mirrored his life last year. Or perhaps just too close for comfort.

I’ll try not to spoil the story for anyone though this book has been out some time. Solomon Kugel is the proverbial sad sack or schmuck. Sort of “Death of a Salesman” Willy Lowman like. Sol trudges through a job he hates to afford the American dream he really doesn’t want while caring for his aging mother and trying to make everyone happy.

He carries around a small pocket sized notebook and pen so he can write down his possible last words as things strike his fancy. He borders on obsessed really. He knows the famous last words of several celebrity types. Some of his entries are so wrong they’re right. Funny too.

He has a warped relationship with his mother. Well don’t we all? She’s right off her rocker. Well yes I am. 😂 There’s a long suffering spouse and plucky only child. He has a sister who’s missing in action leaving their mother’s care mainly to him.

I think some fantasy was woven in with Professor Jove his psychiatrist who I believe never existed and the realtor Eve. She seems to have made a deal with the devil selling houses with a special surprise in the attic. The tale starts and finishes with fire as a theme of arson is carried on throughout. Though dark and twisted, there were parts which were literally laugh out loud.

I sometimes joke Hope is a fickle bitch. Sol Kugel would likely agree. I didn’t get a lot of quotes for my commonplace book. Instead I got one rather long passage that expresses to me that the past can be difficult with which to come to terms. I’m not the only one who might wish for a do-over occasionally.

If only there was a Miracle Away for the past. A Forever Gone for brutalities, atrocities, indignities great and small. A lemon-scented life, that was what he wanted; for Jonah, for Bree, for Mother, for Anne. A pine scented, clean, polished, revitalized life. Leaves no residue. Resists finger prints. Sixty-four ounces of new, price on Amazon – who cares? Click to add to cart. Rush delivery.

May not be for everyone but I’d read it again. I’d probably pick up some new gems. Sol is a tragic character who you laugh with … to keep from crying maybe. My rating 4.25 of 5 stars.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s