Five words from the blurb: hiding, attic, history, Nazi, family
Hope: A Tragedy begins with Solomon Kugel, a Jewish-American man, discovering Anne Frank in his attic. Kugel’s attempts to inform authorities are met with disbelief so he decides to look after the elderly woman himself. This leads to many entertaining scenes, but the humor is cleverly used to deliver deeper messages about the guilt faced by Holocaust survivors and how society feels it must atone for the suffering of others during WWII.
I loved the sound of this book when I first heard about it a few years ago, but was reluctant to read it as I haven’t had much success with Jewish comedies before. Then I came across a cheap copy in a charity shop and decided to give it a try. I’m so pleased I did because it handles difficult subjects with originality and wit.
Some of the passages could be considered offensive (especially to those with strong religious beliefs) but I felt the satire was justified as it highlighted many of the problems with today’s society.
There were a few references to the Jewish religion that went over my head, but these didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the book. It will probably resonate more strongly with those of Jewish descent, but most of the themes are universal and tackled in an original and thought provoking way.
Stay away from Hope: A Tragedy if you find the idea of Holocaust humor abhorrent, but if you have an open mind and are willing to tolerate some outrageous plot developments then you’ll find a lot to enjoy in this book.