Illustration of Shalom Auslander by Aaron Artessa

Three times during his wife’s first pregnancy, Shalom Auslander deleted all or part of the memoir he was writing. It wasn’t that he didn’t like what he’d written; rather, he was convinced that his unflinching portrait of his Orthodox family would provoke God to cast misfortune upon him—his wife, he feared, would miscarry or die in childbirth, or the baby would be born with some devastating defect.

Now that the memoir, titled Foreskin’s Lament, is finally out, Auslander can breathe more easily. Or can he? He joins us to discuss that question, as well as his views on his father, Our Father, and Samuel Beckett.

Illustration by Aaron Artessa.