Laughing at the darkness

It’s hard to imagine what further secrets might be lurking in the recesses of Shalom Auslander’s personal psychic basement. In his just-published first novel, Hope: A Tragedy, Auslander, who will read from the book at 6 p.m. Saturday, February 18 at Oriole9, reveals a sensibility cringing under the weight of a morass of dark, unreasoned, uncontrollable fears. A thinly disguised version of himself, Solomon Kugel, Auslander’s main character, fears everything from the Holocaust and an arsonist to a vengeful deity determined to take the lives of his wife and child. If this sounds gruesome and . . .

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