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One Minute With: Shalom Auslander, novelist


Where are you now and what can you see?

I'm sitting up in my bed. My wife is sitting beside me. She is thinking about taking this laptop and shoving it up my ass.

What are you currently reading?

Frederick Turner's 'Renegade: Henry Miller and the making of Tropic of Cancer'. Books today seem so lazy and pandering, I read as much as I can about books that weren't. Which is, I am aware, a lazy and pandering answer.

Choose a favourite author and say why you admire him/her

Beckett. Not the Samuel Beckett of the ... boxed set of hardcover "works". But the guy who stuck people in garbage cans, buried them in sand and had their pants drop at the end of the play. A bomb-thrower like none other.

Describe the room where you usually write

White walls. Soft. Padded. A nice man comes by every once in a while and tells me to take my pills. Sometimes I don't and he gets real mad, and afterward he makes me clean the blood off the floor.

What distracts you from writing?

Newspaper Q&A's.

Which fictional characater most resembles you?

That one who has that goal, and he goes after that goal and then you think he won't get it but then he does and then he realises he didn't really want it anyway and then he dies. Alone.

What are your readers like when you meet them?

They're mostly very friendly... and complimentary, until they realise I'm not the Jewish American New York writer they thought I was, and then things get ugly in a hurry.

Who is your hero/ heroine from outside literature?

That guy nobody knows but who lives near me and he does something small but meaningful and nobody appreciates it but it gives him happiness and isn't that all that matters really and that I feel like a hero telling you about. That one.

Shalom Auslander's 'Hope: a tragedy' is published by Picador; he will be speaking at Jewish Book Week (jewishbookweek.com) on Sunday 26 February