May 4, 2005

by Reb Yudel
Beware of Auslander?

Jerusalem Post reviews Beware of God:

In Beware of God, Auslander's book of short stories, the pages fly by, kicking against the Torah, driven by rage, scabrous anecdotes, spiritual investigation, surreal twists, talmudic debate, absurdist climaxes and realist flurries, all underpinned by an omnipresent sense of the author's guilt over his own lapsed faith (apparently, Auslander abandoned Orthodox Judaism after his favorite baseball team, the New York Rangers, lost a crucial game).

Throughout the collection, Auslander excels when treading the fine line between serious and funny. He does it brilliantly with the opening story "The War Of The Bernsteins," in which a middle-aged couple fearfully filters their every action through a "cost/benefit analysis of reward versus punishment," to ensure smooth passage into the World To Come.

As Mr. Bernstein "weighs sitting in a buddy booth at the Show World Peep Center with an erection in his hand against sitting among the holy forefathers in the Garden Of Eden with a crown of eternal love on his head," his wife, after buying a red silk nightie, worries that the lusty effects on her husband will eventually see her charged with "conspiracy to cause masturbation."

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