Foreskin's Lament

  • by Shalom Auslander
  • Narrated by Shalom Auslander
  • 7 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Shalom Auslander was raised with a terrified respect for God. Even as he grew up and was estranged from his community, his religion, and its traditions, he could not find his way to a life where he didn't struggle against God daily. Foreskin's Lament reveals Auslander's youth in a strict, socially isolated Orthodox community, and recounts his rebellion and efforts to make a new life apart from it. Auslander remembers his youthful attempt to win the "blessing bee" (the Orthodox version of a spelling bee), his exile to an Orthodox-style reform school in Israel after he's caught shoplifting Union Bay jeans from the mall, and his 14-mile hike to watch the New York Rangers play in Madison Square Garden without violating the Sabbath. Throughout, Auslander struggles to understand God and His complicated, often contradictory laws. He tries to negotiate with God and His representatives: a day of sin-free living for a day of indulgence, a blessing for each profanity. But ultimately, Auslander settles for a peaceful cease-fire, a standoff with God, and accepts the very slim remaining hope that his newborn son might live free of guilt, doubt, and struggle. Auslander's combination of unrelenting humor and anger renders a rich and fascinating portrait of a man grappling with his faith, family, and community.


What the Critics Say

"Shalom Auslander writes like Philip Roth's angry nephew. Foreskin's Lament is a scathing theological rant, a funny, oddly moving coming-of-age memoir, and an irreverent meditation on family, marriage, and cultural identity." (Tom Perrotta)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Best memoir I have listened to in my life!

I had no clue what I was getting myself into when I purchased this book, and actually put in on the back-burner because I thought it would really suck.

It turns out that this is the best autobiography that I have ever listened to (or read) in my 48 years on this planet.

The memoir is very well written, full of great humour, and anyone who was raised by one or two domineering Jewish parents will especially relate to this book.

As an added bonus, the author narrates the books, which adds much authenticity to the story. I didn't even realize until the end of the book that is was narrated by the author, and kept thinking: What a great narrator; he really understands this story.

Those who already open minded will love this book; those who aren't will hopefully learn a few things!
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- Crusader

If my yetzer harah could write

Foreskin's Lament is the James Frey's "Million Little Pieces" for the Jewish world. It is extremely well written, and narrated. It is a serious, intense, incredibly funny and thoughtful book. The difference between the two books is largely accessibilty: a strong Jewish background is necessary to fully appreciate the references, language and context. By in large, I found it compelling. However, the author seems to cross the line of privacy, with regard to his mother, which did not add to the literary value and, I felt, was unecessarily cruel.
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- Jeffrey

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-04-2007
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio