Why Shalom Auslander Left Me Hopeful, After All

Descendants of Holocaust survivors, like me, soon learn that if you expect nothing, you will not be disappointed.

"Abandon hope, all ye who enter here” is the inscription on the gate of Hell in Dante’s “Divine Comedy.” Dante’s masterpiece is anything but a comedy, and Shalom Auslander’s novel “Hope” is a kind of continuation and reverse parody of Dante’s epic. That is, it demonstrates that tragedy’s manifestation is not the loss of all hope, as happens to those who arrive in Hell, but that...