Shalom Auslander desperately tried to avoid cutting his own trailer for his first novel, Hope: A Tragedy, which is odd: Not only does he have the comic timing to pull it off — the essayist’s bad-Jew cri de ceour, Foreskin’s Lament, was a horribly depressing comic romp — he’s also a creative director at McCann Erickson. When Auslander finally agreed, his publisher at Riverhead, Geoff Kloske, gave him only two directives: “It needs to be under 90 seconds, and you better not make it too dark.” (Hope: A Tragedy is kind of about the lighter side of collective Holocaust guilt.) The result is three trailers, each about two and a half minutes long, wherein he asks Ira Glass, Sarah Vowell, and John Hodgman whether, in the event of another Holocaust, they would hide his family in their attic. Auslander himself is shown only in silhouette, pacing through his office, or playing in the rainy woods with his wife and children. He broke the trailer down for Vulture and gave us an exclusive first look at the videos.
Well, the book is about the futility of hope, in a way. And the danger of hope. At a certain point you go, the sun is not coming out anymore. If I could get that way with life in general, I would be much happier, and that is kind of what the book is about.