Truth-tellers in upstate exile

The Chronogram's Nina Shengold had a terrific profile recently of local writer Shalom Auslander, author of Foreskin's Lament and a frequent NPR contributor. In it, Auslander--who is screamingly hilarious, in that way that comes only from having endured deep psychological torment--dishes about his fundamentalist upbringing, his love/hate relationship with loosey-goosey Woodstock, and why he won't drive his car in Rockland County.

It’s easy to spot Auslander at Bread Alone in Woodstock—he’s bent over a notebook, frowning. He’s just come from the writing office he rented on Tinker Street a few weeks after Paix was born, where he’s been wrestling with a novel tentatively titled Leopold Against the World. “It’s about a genocide, but funny,” he says.

Another one to check out: last week's New York Times profile of Frank Serpico, the NYPD cop made famous for crossing the thin blue line by the 1973 Pacino flick bearing his name. Writer Corey Kilgannon catches up with the former detective, now a hermit somewhere near Hudson.

After he settled here, his journey turned inward. He eschewed what he sees as an ugly American addiction to consumerism and media brainwashing. He eats mostly vegetarian and organic food, cooking on the wood-burning stove that heats the cabin, where there is neither television nor the Internet. “This is my life now,” he said. “The woods, nature, solitude.”