Thursday, March 1, 2012

Top ten comic tragedies

Shalom Auslander was raised as an Orthodox Jew in Spring Valley, New York. Nominated for the Koret Award for writers under thirty-five, he has published stories and articles in Esquire, The New Yorker, and the New York Times Magazine, as well as on and He is a regular contributor to PRI’s “This American Life.” His first book, the short story collection Beware of God, was published to critical acclaim in 2005. Auslander's new novel is Hope: A Tragedy.

One of his top ten comic tragedies, as told to the Guardian:
Candide by Voltaire

A young couple dreaming of an idyllic future get chased from their home into a dark, forbidding, well, planet: everything sucks, everywhere. They are separated from each other, beaten, robbed, raped. There are wars, conflicts, disasters of every kind, and by the time the once-happy couple reunites at the end, his naive optimism is all but gone, and she is but a haggard, broken shadow of her former self. The End. Hilarious.
Read about the other books on the list.

Candide is a book Rolling Stone political columnist Matt Taibbi reads every couple of years. It is on John Mullan's list of ten of the best visits to Venice in literature and Dan Rhodes's top 10 list of short books.

--Marshal Zeringue