978-1-59448-333-2 / 9781594483332

Foreskin's Lament: A Memoir


Publisher:Riverhead Trade



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About the book:

About the Author ~ Shalom Auslander
Shalom Auslander was raised as an Orthodox Jew in Spring Valley, New York. His writing has been published in the New Yorker and Esquire, among other magazines. He lives in upstate New York with his wife and son.

Exclusive Interview with Shalom Auslander

What is Foreskin's Lament about?

I was raised in a small ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in New York; picture a madrasa somewhere in Taliban Town, change the head coverings to yarmulkes, switch the Korans for Old Testaments and thats pretty much it. The book is about my life under the thumb of an abusive, belligerent God, and the long-term emotionally crippling effects the fundamentalism of my youth has had and continues to have upon me. But funny. I suppose it didnt help that my father on Earth was as abusive as my Father in Heaven. Good times, good times.

What inspired you to write it?

Anger. Four years ago, my wife and I went to a doctor, and the doctor put gel on my wifes belly, and then the doctor said, "Its a boy." And instead of being excited  instead of picking out little footballs or infant-sized Valentino Rossi shirts  I spent the evening terrified: Should I circumcise him or not? What will God do if I dont? Will He kill me? Will He kill my son? Will He kill my son first, just so I experience that agony, and then kill me? When will He kill my wife? And then that fear turned to anger, and I thought, "Maybe I should write this down. Maybe I should tell someone what this feels like." And so I did.

Who are your literary influences?

I have no idea  I know who I like, I know who inspires me (Kafka, Beckett, Celine, Voltaire), but whether they influence my writing or not is for someone else to decide.

If you could recommend just one "must-read book" to anyone, what would it be and why?

I would recommend anything by me. This is because Im self-centered, and broke.

What top tips do you have for anyone looking to write their first book?

Dont. The only ones worth writing are the ones that tell the deepest, darkest truths about life and humanity, and the only way you can discover that is discover the deepest, darkest truths about yourself. Totally not worth it. Buy a flatscreen TV and an Xbox, stop looking inward and float through life, plump, shallow and happy. It will all be over soon, and youll thank me when it is.

Reviews for Foreskin's Lament

We are not the only ones to love this book. Check out a selection of reviews below.

Unforgettable . . . [Auslander is] America's hottest, funniest, most controversial young Jewish memoirist . . . I challenge even the most disapproving of his parents' friends to read this blackly hilarious, groundbreaking memoir without wiping tears of both kinds from their eyes. The Times

Outrageously funny . . . Dazzling . . . Raw brilliance infused with classic Jewish irony . . . This is indeed a lament, but a lament with attitude. Sunday Telegraph

Hilarious and devastating . . . Few books really are laugh-out-loud funny. This one is. The comic timing is perfect and, as with all the best Jewish jokes, the pain behind the humour is apparent . . . Fascinating. Naomi Alderman, Sunday Times

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