Auslander's Complaint

Shalom Auslander is a funny, ironic and satirical writer. He is pushing hard on his new book. What better way than to drive around Monsey on Rosh Hashanah with a carload of guilt and pockets full of resentment and oh yes, a NY Times writer in the seat next to you.

Like Philip Roth for my generation, Auslander is the Jew who marvels at how liberating it is to live like a Goy. For some reason Goyim buy books like that. Perhaps it's because they are so hilarious. Hey look at me! I used to do ridiculous Orthodox things and now I am like a normal Gentile!

But let me tell you, those authors declaim. It wasn't easy. I have all this remorse and I need to write about my escape from the prison of religion.

It works as a trope of the New York literary establishment because it's our common dream and nightmare. We yearn to escape our meshuggena mannerisms yet we fear to lose any part of ourselves. When we wake up and try to recount the dreams, they always sound funny. Like the tales of Roth and Auslander.

From today's Times:
Man and God (and God’s Sick Punch Lines)
Published: October 1, 2007

MONSEY, N.Y. — Shalom Auslander ends “Foreskin’s Lament,” his memoir of growing up in, and eventually breaking away from, the Orthodox Jewish community here, not with an acknowledgments page but with a list of people God might consider punishing instead of the author’s family. Mr. Auslander is no longer observant, but he is still a believer, and he believes in a wrathful, vengeful God who takes things personally and is not at all pleased when someone leaves the fold and writes an angry and very funny book about it....
And other Times/Auslander content:
First Chapter: “Foreskin’s Lament” (September 28, 2007); Op-Ed Contributor: Pore Me (August 20, 2007)

I previously wrote about Auslander's New Yorker tale of Teaneck here.

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