Welcome to Fetal Position, your home for 24/7 news and political analysis.

Just kidding.

News and politics are why I'm in the fetal position in the first place. That and God.

And existence.

And death.

And sex.

And Paul Rudd.

More about Rudd later.


I am the writer of novels, memoirs, essays, and scripts, and have been a frequent contributor to This American Life, though they don’t call much anymore (See below, "Why You Should Pay"). My work has inexplicably appeared in the New York Times, the New Yorker and many otherwise fine publications around the world. My first collection of short stories, Beware of God, was described as a mix of Samuel Beckett, Franz Kafka and Groucho Marx, and compared by The Guardian to " drinking 14 shots of vodka." Foreskin's Lament, my first memoir, was a New York Times Best Book of the Year and began a trend of former-Orthodox memoirs that resulted in someone else getting a Netflix series (See below, "Why You Should Pay"). Said Entertainment Weekly, "Even at his most rebellious, Portnoy-era Roth couldn't hold a candle to Shalom Auslander," though obviously it's not a candle that Portnoy-era Roth would have been holding. Lament was followed by the novel Hope: A Tragedy, which was acclaimed by reviewers around the world as the funniest novel of the decade, and most recently Mother For Dinner, which was deemed "a work of genius" in Europe and a Best Book of the Year by The Economist and the Times of London. Somewhere along the way I created, wrote and showran (?) a TV series called Happyish, which aired on Showtime, and which was declared by some as wildly ahead of its time. So far ahead, evidently, that the network cancelled it after one season (See below, "Why You Should Pay").


As Matthew Groening wrote in his introduction to Life in Hell, "I like to think of this as a self-help book, the self being helped being me." That's pretty much the idea here, too, but I’m hoping it may be of some help to you as well. Writers and writing have helped me through life, saved me really, and my writing heroes -- Kafka, Beckett, Cervantes, Sterne, Flannery, Kurt V, Voltaire, Richard Pryor, Bill Hicks, Terry Southern, Groucho Marx, Bugs Bunny -- were all Fetal Positioners. To survive, they told stories, and they laughed, and sometimes they screamed, and sometimes they cried "Ouch." And then they laughed some more, usually at themselves. It helped me to hear that tapping on the prison wall, telling me I wasn't alone, and that perhaps laughter was a good way to deal with the world. And existence. And death. And sex. And Paul Rudd.

More about Rudd later.

I hope Fetal Position can do that for you. If I can offer a smile, a bit of solace or at least a whisper of "you're not alone," it will be worth it.

Maybe it will help.

I hope so.

Me, I mean.

But also you.


I will post twice a week, sometimes more. Some posts will be long. Some will be short. Some posts will be free, some will be for paid subscribers only. Paid subscribers will have access to everything, including the archive (all posts will be archived after 4 weeks), comment, installments of It’s Hell, Charlie Brown, a novel I'll be working on right here on FP, as well as early release and signed copies of my forthcoming memoir Feh, and whatever else I can think of. Like God said of Man, "It's a work-in-progress."


I am a writer, primarily of books, in the age of Netflix, AI and TikTok. This is me with my family.

Beautiful, aren't they?

Picture them having birthday parties. Picture them learning to ride bicycles. Picture them tucked safely in their beds.

Now picture them starving to death.

(NOTE: Not really my family)


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A Quick Note on Content:

When Rabelais published his lewd, low-brow, carnivalesque comedy about a giant named Gargantua, so many Frenchmen were offended that he considered never writing again. But he did, he later explained in the introduction to the sequel, because he refused to allow the sour and pinch-faced of this world to win. He called people who couldn’t take a joke agelasts, from the Greek agelastos, which means” not laughing.” The sanctimony and virtue-signaling that consumed much of French life drove Francois crazy, as it does me today. So if you are easily offended, enjoy being offended, can't wait to be offended or think being offended makes you some kind of hero, please go elsewhere. We have a strict No Agelasts policy here at FP, and don't need more reasons to curl up into the position.

We're all in this fetal position together.

Fetal Position is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.

All illustration by Orli Auslander, curled up beside me on the padded floor of Life.

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"Just to spite the world, don’t cry! Just to spite the world, only laugh, only laugh!" - Sholom Aleichem. Amen, Brother.


Shalom Auslander is an internationally acclaimed novelist, short story writer, essayist and scriptwriter. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, This American Life and many others around the world. He lives somewhere.