FEH: A Memoir
From the acclaimed author of Foreskin’s Lament, a memoir of the author’s attempt to escape the biblical story he’d been raised on and his struggle to construct a new story for himself and his family
Shalom Auslander was raised like a veal in a dysfunctional family in the Orthodox community of Monsey, New York: the son of an alcoholic father; a guilt-wielding mother; and a violent, overbearing God. Now, as he reaches middle age, Auslander begins to suspect that what plagues him is something worse, something he can’t so easily escape: a story. The story. One indelibly implanted in him at an early age, a story that told him he is fallen, broken, shameful, disgusting, a story we have all been told for thousands of years, and continue to be told by the religious and secular alike, a story called “Feh.”
Yiddish for “Yuck.”
Feh follows Auslander’s midlife journey to rewrite that story, a journey that involves Phillip Seymour Hoffman, a Pulitzer-winning poet, Job, Arthur Schopenhauer, GHB, Wolf Blitzer, Yuval Noah Harari and a pastor named Steve in a now-defunct church in Los Angeles.
Can he move from Feh to merely meh? Can he even dream of moving beyond that?
Auslander’s recounting of his attempt to exorcize the story he was raised with—before he implants it onto his children and/or possibly poisons the relationship of the one woman who loves him—isn’t sacred. It is more-than-occasionally profane. And like all his work, it is also relentlessly funny, subversively heartfelt and fearlessly provocative.
MOTHER FOR DINNER
Sunday Times Best Novel of the Year
The Economist Best Novels of the Year
A work of genius. - The Scotsman
You're unlikely to read anything funnier this year.
- The Big Issue
Auslander uses his signature dark humor to brilliantly satirize tribalism in America… This could be a portrait of any ethnic group that has been consumed by America, though, in this case, it’s unclear who is devouring whom.
Auslander turns his taboo-shattering satiric gaze to cannibalism in this outrageous, salty take on contemporary culture... a riotous dissection of cultural formation and a community’s hunger for meaning.
- Publisher's Weekly
HOPE: A Tragedy
('and possibly funniest')
Auslander writes like some contemporary comedic Jeremiah, thundering warnings of disaster and retribution. What makes him so terrifyingly funny is that he isn't joking.
- Howard Jacobson, winner of the
Man Booker Prize
Blends tragedy, comedy and satire in the mold of Samuel Beckett and Franz Kafka.
– Wall Street Journal
A virtuoso humorist, and a brave one.
– NY Times Book Review
My pick for the funniest novel of the past decade.
– Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal
FORESKIN'S LAMENT: A Memoir
A New York Times Best Book of the Year
A scathing theological rant, a funny, oddly moving coming-of-age memoir, and an irreverent meditation on family, marriage, and cultural identity... I loved it.
- Tom Perrotta
Even at his most rebellious, Portnoy-era Roth couldn't hold a candle to Shalom Auslander... Beneath the extremely funny shtick is one ferociously angry book.
- Entertainment Weekly
Funny, fierce and subversively heartfelt.... with his middle finger pointed at the heavens and a hand held over his heart, Auslander gives us Foreskin's Lament.
- NY Times Book Review
BEWARE OF GOD: Stories
The debut of the freshest voice in Jewish Literature since Phillip Roth arrived on the scene... youthful, energetic, wholly original.
- AM Homes
...a poet laureate may be in the making...
- LA Times Sunday Book Review
An extraordinary collection, which has an energy,
a precision and a deep black humour I haven't seen in a long time... It's like drinking fourteen shots
- The Guardian