WBEZ | Anne Frank http://www.wbez.org/tags/anne-frank Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en In his new novel, writer Shalom Auslander resurrects the living ghost of Anne Frank http://www.wbez.org/story/his-new-novel-writer-shalom-auslander-resurrects-living-ghost-anne-frank-97380 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2012-March/2012-03-16/Anne frank statue_flickr_thomas poederbach.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-16/Anne frank statue_flickr_thomas poederbach.jpg" style="width: 630px; height: 393px;" title="Shalom Auslander’s new novel asks: What if Anne Frank didn’t die during the Holocaust? (Flickr/Thomas Poederbach)"></p><p>At a recent reading in Chicago, Shalom Auslander confided in his audience that he had asked his publisher if he could skip the normal book tour Q &amp; A, and just interview himself.</p><p>The questions he gets are “often repetitive,” he lamented. &nbsp;“Normally, the first one is about Philip Roth.”</p><p>Upon reading Auslander’s new novel, <em>Hope: A Tragedy</em> (Riverhead Books, 2012), it’s not hard to see why. It’s not just that both Roth and Auslander are Jewish writers who struggle with questions of contemporary Jewishness, like the presence or absence of God in modern life. It’s not just that each writes explicitly about his various sexual urges, whether in <em>Portnoy’s Complaint</em> (or, OK, just about every Roth novel) or in Auslander’s <a href="http://www.shalomauslander.com/writing/MyHardcoreObsession.pdf">very NSFW essays for <em>GQ </em></a>and Nerve.com.</p><p>No, it is also because with Auslander’s latest novel, <em>Hope: A Tragedy</em>, each writer has now conjured a speculative fiction or “what if” version of Anne Frank -- not as a young diarist murdered in the Nazi concentration camps, but as an adult who secretly survived the Holocaust and who now lives in hiding somewhere in America.</p><p>In Roth’s case, a fictionalized Frank appears in <em>The Ghost Writer</em>, the first book in the Zuckerman series. Published in 1979, it is, like many of Roth’s books, a portrait of post-war America: The Holocaust has just happened, Jews are not yet fully assimilated and, anxious about their status and security in this country, are eager to portray themselves in a positive light. The main character, Nathan Zuckerman, is a young, aspiring writer who has been criticized by his parents and his rabbi for supposedly bringing shame to his family and his faith by writing honestly about the moral and financial foibles of some of his relatives.</p><p>Searching for his path, Zuckerman goes on a pilgrimage to visit his hero, a reclusive and aging novelist living in the countryside with a young mistress—who may or may not be Anne Frank. Marrying Anne Frank, it dawns on Zuckerman, could solve all of his problems: If he were married to this patron saint of Jewish writing, he and his writing would be unassailable.</p><p>Zuckerman’s fantasy is, of course, just that. But the question, even accusation, that Roth seems to raise with this scenario is provocative and troubling: In a world determined to “never forget,” is Anne Frank more useful dead – as a symbol of persecution, injustice and mass murder – than she would be alive?</p><p>In Auslander’s <em>Hope</em>, his fictionalized version of Frank reaches a similar set of conclusions when she walks into a publisher’s office after escaping from Bergen-Belsen. “Stay dead,” the publisher tells her. “They want a martyr, they want to know we’ve hit bottom. That it gets better, because it can’t get worse.”</p><p>Auslander’s treatment of this material is darker than Roth’s, yet somehow much funnier, too. <em>This American Life</em> fans know Auslander from radio stories that detail with deadpan hilarity and horror the drama of his Orthodox Jewish upbringing. The same listeners will be pleased to find these same qualities here.</p><p><em>Hope</em> is set in the present day, and Auslander’s main character, Solomon Kugle, has moved his wife and young son to the rural town of Stockton, where nothing has ever happened, trying to escape the past. We already know that Kugle can’t, though, and the point is driven home when he discovers a feisty, half-dead Anne Frank squirreled away in the attic of his newly acquired farmhouse, trying to write the story of the latter part of her life.</p><p>That’s where we find Kugle in this excerpt of <em>Hope: A Tragedy</em>, read aloud by Auslander during his recent stop in Chicago. You can listen in the audio above.</p><p><a href="../../series/dynamic-range">Dynamic Range </a><em>showcases hidden gems unearthed from </em>Chicago Amplified’s <em>vast archive of public events and appears on weekends. Shalom Auslander spoke at an event presented by the</em> <a href="http://www.spertus.edu/" target="_blank"><em>Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies </em></a><em>in February. Click </em><a href="../../story/evening-shalom-auslander-97145"><em>here </em></a><em>to hear the event in its entirety.</em></p></p> Sat, 17 Mar 2012 11:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/his-new-novel-writer-shalom-auslander-resurrects-living-ghost-anne-frank-97380 Julia Weiss imagines Anne Frank as if she was posthumously baptized by Mormons http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-03-01/julia-weiss-imagines-anne-frank-if-she-was-posthumously-baptized-mo <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2012-March/2012-03-01/338547623_09b899d9c7.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-01/338547623_09b899d9c7.jpg" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 266px; height: 400px;" title="(Flickr/John Keogh)"></p><p>The media omnipresence of Mormon GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney has catapulted the&nbsp;Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints back into the news.</p><p>The Mormon Church, however, hasn’t needed Romney’s help in getting attention—or criticism—of late, specifically over their much-commented upon practice of posthumously baptizing the dead. The practice has been <a href="http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/SavageLove?oid=12736456">mocked by the likes of sex-advice columnist Dan Savage</a>, and recently, Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/21/mormons-posthumous-baptism-anne-frank_n_1292102.html">asked Romney</a> to speak out against the practice.</p><p>Allegations that beloved diarist and Holocaust victim Anne Frank was among those baptized posthumously did not help. The Mormon Church released a statement denying the charges, claiming that they were committed to no longer "accept[ing]&nbsp;the names of Holocaust victims for proxy baptism."</p><p>Some might shy away from attempting to handle such events with humor, but comedian Julia Weiss -- featured most recently on <em>The Paper Machete</em> telling <a href="../../2012-02-01/comedian-julia-weiss-heidi-klum-and-seal-broke-because-seal-actuall">this sad tale of celebrity divorce&nbsp;with a twist</a> -- isn't most people.</p><p>In this satirical performance, Weiss reads a diary entry supposedly pulled from a notebook Anne Frank wrote in during the afterlife-- after she has been&nbsp;posthumously baptized by Mormons. Read an excerpt or listen below:</p><p><em>"Dear Diary, </em></p><p><em>Sorry I haven't written in so long. You see, I've spent the last few decades wallowing belly-deep in a sulfur lake in the murky, fiery pits of hell alongside my family, friends and bunches of other Jews. Oh, and guess who eternally suffered in the brimstone hut right next door to ours? Adolf Hitler! </em></p><p><em>And I thought sharing a room with a creepy dentist was bad."</em></p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332743652-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/sites/default/files/julia weiss 2.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p><p><a href="http://thepapermacheteshow.com/" target="_blank">The Paper Machete</a>&nbsp;<em>is a weekly live magazine at the Horseshoe in North Center. It's always at 3 p.m., it's always on Saturday, and it's always free. Get all your</em>&nbsp;The Paper Machete Radio Magazine<em>&nbsp;needs filled&nbsp;<a href="http://wbez.org/thepapermachete" target="_blank">here</a>, or download the podcast from iTunes&nbsp;<a href="http://itunes.apple.com/podcast/the-paper-machete-radio-magazine/id450280345" target="_blank">here</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 01 Mar 2012 17:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-03-01/julia-weiss-imagines-anne-frank-if-she-was-posthumously-baptized-mo