Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter
This coming week’s New Yorker features fiction by Nathan Englander: “Free Fruit for Young Widows”
When the Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser took control of the Suez Canal, threatening Western access to that vital route, an agitated France shifted allegiances, joining forces with Britain and Israel against Egypt. This is a fact neither here nor there, except that during the 1956 Sinai Campaign there were soldiers in the Israeli Army and soldiers in the Egyptian Army who ended up wearing identical French-supplied uniforms to battle.
Not long into the fighting, an Israeli platoon came to rest at a captured Egyptian camp to the east of Bir Gafgafa, in the Sinai Desert. There Private Shimmy Gezer (formerly Shimon Bibberblat, of Warsaw, Poland) sat down to eat at a makeshift outdoor mess. Four armed commandos sat down with him. He grunted. They grunted. Shimmy dug into his lunch.
Keep reading here.
A finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, Nathan’s short fiction has been widely anthologized, most recently in 100 Years of the Best American Short Stories.