ANN@The China Post

2017年已經過去一個多月了,2016年你給自己列的書單都看完了嗎?如果勤奮好學的你正打算給自己開一份新書單,那麼不妨看看BBC文化頻道新鮮出爐的2月書單推薦。 George Saunders, Lincoln in the Bardo 喬治•桑德斯《林肯在中陰》

Saunders, a masterful short story writer, takes a well-known tragedy in the life of one of the most honoured US presidents as the jumping-off point for his first novel. Abraham Lincoln’s son Willie died of typhoid at the age of 11 in 1862. The president mourned as the Civil War raged, its outcome unclear, and with daily reports of rising casualties. Saunders uses the Tibetan Buddhist concept of ‘the bardo’ – that netherworld between life and death – to centre his mosaic of voices within a vision of grief captured at the cemetery where Willie is buried. Saunders delicately reveals a connection between a father’s grief and Lincoln’s strategic decision to “be brave and resolve the thing.” 亞伯拉罕•林肯是最負盛名的美國總統之一,短篇小說大師桑德斯以他廣為人知的悲劇故事作為其長篇小說的起點。林肯的兒子威利在1862年死於傷寒,年僅11歲。就在林肯沉浸在喪子之痛之時,美國內戰爆發,戰局未定,每日傷亡報告不斷攀升。桑德斯通過藏傳佛教裡的“中陰(人死後以至往生輪回某一道為止的一段時期內亡者的靈體)”概念來呈現威利墓地上的悲傷幻象。桑德斯細膩地揭示了林肯作為父親的悲傷和他決定“勇敢面對,解決問題”的關鍵決定之間的聯繫。

Ludmilla Petrushevskaya, The Girl from the Metropol Hotel 柳德米拉•彼得魯Petrushevskaya, a celebrated author in Russia, was born in 1938 across the street from the Kremlin in the Metropol Hotel, Moscow’s “most famed residential building”. While she was an infant, many members of her family of intellectuals were arrested and executed as “enemies of the people”. This ushered in a childhood of severe deprivation, starvation and isolation. She eats from the neighbour’s garbage and can’t go to school in winter because she has no shoes. Yet Petrushevskaya narrates with joy swimming in the Volga, her grandmother’s retelling of classics by Gogol from memory and watching Rossini’s The Barber of Seville after climbing up the outside of the opera house. 俄羅斯著名作家彼得魯舍夫斯卡婭1938年生於克里姆林宮街對面的都市酒店,這裡是莫斯科“最有名的住宅”。在彼得魯舍夫斯卡婭還是個嬰兒的時候,家族中的許多知識份子遭到逮捕,被當成“人民公敵”處決。這讓她在童年處境窮困、忍饑挨餓、飽受孤立。她從鄰居家的垃圾中找吃的,因為沒有鞋穿冬天沒法上學。然而彼得魯舍夫斯卡婭在小說中講述的是在伏爾加河歡樂地游泳、祖母憑藉記憶講果戈理的經典故事,以及趴在歌劇院的牆上偷看羅西尼的歌劇《塞維利亞的理髮師》的故事。

Katie Kitamura, A Separation Katie Kitamura《一場分居》舍夫斯卡婭《來自首都酒店的女孩》

The opening to Kitamura’s third novel is pitch-perfect: “It began with a telephone call from Isabella. She wanted to know where Christopher was.” Isabella’s son Christopher and his wife, the narrator, have kept their six-month marital separation a secret. Now he has disappeared. And his lies and betrayals are coming undone. The wife flies to Athens to track him down, determined to ask for a divorce. A Separation is an atmospheric and emotionally sophisticated novel that reads like a taut Patricia Highsmith thriller. Kitamura第三部小說的開頭堪稱完美:“故事始於伊莎貝拉的一個電話。她想知道克里斯多夫在哪裡。”伊莎貝拉的兒子克里斯多夫和他的妻子(故事主人公)隱瞞了他們已經分居六個月的事實。如今,克里斯多夫消失了,他的謊言和背叛即將暴露。他的妻子飛往雅典尋找他,決定要和丈夫離婚。這部小說情節跌宕、情感複雜,讀起來就像是一部情節緊湊的派特裡夏•海史密斯式驚悚片。