Wednesday 27th Feb 2013 - Picador
Last night at Kings Place in North London, where Jewish Book Week is being celebrated, the winner of the Jewish Quarterly Wingate Prize for Jewish Literature was announced. In a brave and possibly controversial choice, the judges picked Hope: A Tragedy by Shalom Auslander as the winner. This is quite simply, one of the strangest, darkest and undoubtedly funniest novels I have ever read (let alone published).
Shalom is both provocateur and humanist. He is also a truly wonderful comic writer who tells a story with such an outlandish premise and yet makes it totally believable.
I am personally thrilled that this book has delighted more readers than it has offended and I think it is a wonderful testimony to the openness of the judges that they have embraced this novel in all its dangerous glory.
Fans of Hope: A Tragedy are now legion and there can surely be few novels that could bring together in awe-struck admiration such diverse figures as Edwina Currie, Howard Jacobson, Davd Baddiel and the Wingate judges.