Polina Barskova

from “The Forgiver”


when they liberated the camp, the first thing he threw himself on was books, and these were his books: a textbook on gynecology, a French-German dictionary, an anthology titled Magical Animal Tales.

When he started writing his own books, his best friend—also, by the way, one of those who returned—hurled at him a word warm like a gob of spit: Forgiver!

In truth, Primo no longer wanted the death of those characters in his terrifying dreams, did not want revenge, did not want them led out and dragged to the scaffold.

He couldn’t not think about them, couldn’t not write about them, but he no longer had the strength to desire their beautiful, rightful demise.

Tales about magical animals—foxes, kites, jackals, and wolves.