Arnon Grunberg



I was about to leave Dublin, and I was hesitating what to do with the May 17 issue of The New Yorker. I had carried a copy of the magazine for ten days in my bag without reading a single sentence. Probably it was better to not take the magazine back to my apartment in New York. But then my eye fell on the first sentences of the story “Free Fruit for Young Widows” by Nathan Englander. And I decided to read the story on the plane.
“Free Fruit for Young Widows” is something between a short story and a morality tale. The story is well written and worth reading, but the morality of the tale disturbed me a bit: we cannot expect mercy from people who have never known mercy in their lives.
Well, yes.
Christianity says: somebody has to start with mercy.
Perhaps it is wise to live according to this law: show me your mercy and I’ll show you mine.
But I’m not sure if it is morally uplifting as well.
Forgiving is not the same thing as explaining. You can explain without forgiving. You can forgive without explaining.