Arnon Grunberg



Mr. Depardieu’s letter to Mr. Ayrault has been published by Harper’s Magazine in English translation:

“To Mr. Jean-Marc Ayrault: Pathetic? You call it pathetic? Pathetic indeed! I was born in 1948 — I started working at age fourteen as a printer, as a warehouse worker, then as a dramatic artist. I have always paid my taxes. At no point did I abdicate my responsibility. The historical films I’ve been a part of bear witness to my love of France and its history. Sadly, I have no more left to do here — but I will continue to love the French public with whom I’ve shared so many emotions! I am leaving because you believe that success, creativity, talent — difference, in fact — must be punished. No one who has left France has been as insulted as I. Yet I will carry with me the spirit of a country that once was beautiful and that will, I hope, remain so. I give you my passport and my social-security card, of which I have never made use. We no longer have the same homeland — I am a true European, a citizen of the world.”

(Probably you have to be a subscriber to Harper’s Magazine to read the complete letter by Mr. Depardieu, if you are, you can read the letter here. Getting a subscription is definitely worth it.)

Indeed, Mr. Depardieu is the quintessential European; spoiled, mad, pathetic, tragic, charming and talented, always looking for a valid reason to be exiled.

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