Author Shalom Auslander has built his career on irreverently probing Jewish history and tradition. He's just published his first novel, Hope: A Tragedy.
It's written with Auslander's trademark deadpan humor and explores the place of optimism in Jewish culture. Protagonist Solomon Kugel relocates his family from the city to an upstate New York farmhouse, where among other disarming encounters, he finds Anne Frank living in his attic. Kugel is way too hopeful for his own good and it seems that expecting the worst could be his best course of action. The book centers around the eternal question: how do you tell your children how to live?
Shalom Auslander is the author of the memoir Foreskin's Lament and the book of stories, Beware of God. He's also a contributor to public radio's This American Life.