Foreskin's Lament: A Memoir

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9780143142492: Foreskin's Lament: A Memoir

A bitingly funny memoir of growing up in a dysfunctional Jewish family and wrestling with a vengeful God.

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About the Author:

Shalom Auslanderwas raised in Monsey, New York. Nominated for the Koret Award for writers under thirty-five, he has published articles inEsquire,The New York Times Magazine,Tablet,The New Yorker, and has had stories aired on NPR'sThis American Life. Auslander is the author of the novel Hope: A Tragedy, the short story collectionBeware of God,and the memoirForeskin's Lament. He lives in New York. To learn more about Shalom Auslander, please visit www.shalomauslander.com.

From Publishers Weekly:

Auslander, a magazine writer, describes his Orthodox Jewish upbringing as theological abuse in this sardonic, twitchy memoir that waits for the other shoe to drop from on high. The title refers to his agitation over whether to circumcise his soon to be born son, yet another Jewish ritual stirring confusion and fear in his soul. Flitting haphazardly between expectant-father neuroses in Woodstock, N.Y., and childhood neuroses in Monsey, N.Y., Auslander labors mightily to channel Philip Roth with cutting, comically anxious spiels lamenting his claustrophobic house, off-kilter family and the temptations of all things nonkosher, from shiksas to Slim Jims. The irony of his name, Shalom (Hebrew for peace), isn't lost on him, a tormented soul gripped with dread, fending off an alcoholic, abusive father while imagining his heavenly one as a menacing, mocking, inescapable presence. Fond of tormenting himself with worst-case scenarios, he concludes, That would be so God. Like Roth's Portnoy, he commits minor acts of rebellion and awaits his punishment with youthful literal-mindedness. But this memoir is too wonky to engage the reader's sympathy or cut free Auslander's persona from the swath of stereotype—and he can't sublimate his rage into the cultural mischief that brightens Roth's oeuvre. That said, a surprisingly poignant ending awaits readers. (Oct.)
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