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BBC推荐:2月必读书单

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2017年02月10日

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George Saunders, Lincoln in the Bardo

乔治•桑德斯《林肯在中阴》

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."

亚伯拉罕•林肯是最负盛名的美国总统之一,短篇小说大师桑德斯以他广为人知的悲剧故事作为其长篇小说的起点。林肯的儿子威利在1862年死于伤寒,年仅11岁。就在林肯沉浸在丧子之痛之时,美国内战爆发,战局未定,每日伤亡报告不断攀升。桑德斯通过藏传佛教里的“中阴(人死后以至往生轮回某一道为止的一段时期内亡者的灵体)”概念来呈现威利墓地上的悲伤幻象。桑德斯细腻地揭示了林肯作为父亲的悲伤和他决定“勇敢面对,解决问题”的关键决定之间的联系。

Ludmilla Petrushevskaya, The Girl from the Metropol Hotel

柳德米拉•彼得鲁舍夫斯卡娅《来自首都酒店的女孩》

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.

俄罗斯著名作家彼得鲁舍夫斯卡娅1938年生于克里姆林宫街对面的都市酒店,这里是莫斯科“最有名的住宅”。在彼得鲁舍夫斯卡娅还是个婴儿的时候,家族中的许多知识分子遭到逮捕,被当成“人民公敌”处决。这让她在童年处境穷困、忍饥挨饿、饱受孤立。她从邻居家的垃圾中找吃的,因为没有鞋穿冬天没法上学。然而彼得鲁舍夫斯卡娅在小说中讲述的是在伏尔加河欢乐地游泳、祖母凭借记忆讲果戈理的经典故事,以及趴在歌剧院的墙上偷看罗西尼的歌剧《塞维利亚的理发师》的故事。

Katie Kitamura, A Separation Katie Kitamura

《一场分居》

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第三部小说的开头堪称完美:“故事始于伊莎贝拉的一个电话。她想知道克里斯托弗在哪里。”伊莎贝拉的儿子克里斯托弗和他的妻子(故事主人公)隐瞒了他们已经分居六个月的事实。如今,克里斯托弗消失了,他的谎言和背叛即将暴露。他的妻子飞往雅典寻找他,决定要和丈夫离婚。这部小说情节跌宕、情感复杂,读起来就像是一部情节紧凑的帕特里夏•海史密斯式惊悚片。

Steve Erickson, Shadowbahn

史蒂夫•埃里克森《Shadowbahn》

A lorry driver driving through South Dakota in 2021 sees the World Trade Center's twin towers that fell two decades earlier looming up against the "forbidding Badlands horizon". Soon, a gawking crowd has gathered, drawn by the spectacle dubbed the "American Stonehenge", and this soon includes Parker and Zema, who take a side trip toward the Towers on their way to Michigan to visit their mother. In this audacious futuristic novel, Erickson takes on American myth and history, pushing our imaginative borders along ever more shadowy faultlines.

2021年,一名卡车司机开车经过南达科塔州时看到20年前坍塌的世贸中心双子塔楼浮现在一片可怕的不毛之地上。很快,被称为“美国巨石阵”的奇观吸走了一群围观群众。帕克和泽马在前往密歇根看望母亲的路上顺路到双子塔旅游,不久他们也被卷入其中。在这部大胆的科幻小说中,作者埃里克森把美国神话和历史交融在一起,沿着越来越神秘的断裂层不断突破读者想象力的边界。

Glenn Frankel, High Noon

格伦•弗伦克尔《正午》

High Noon - the Gary Cooper Western whose title, since its release in 1952, has connoted "a moment of truth when a good man must confront evil" - was shot in 32 days during the era of the Hollywood Blacklist. Frankel, a Pulitzer Prize winner, describes the consequences of the blacklist on the film industry, including its effect on the film's writer, Carl Foreman, whose career was damaged because he refused to cooperate. Frankel makes the climate of suspicion and fear in Hollywood palpable.

《正午》——自1952年上映以来,这部加里•库珀的西部片的名字总让人想到“一个好人不得不对抗邪恶的一刻”。该片拍摄于好莱坞的“黑名单时代”,仅用了32天。普利策获奖作者弗伦克尔描述了黑名单对电影行业的巨大影响,其中包括电影《正午》的编剧卡尔•福尔曼受到的影响。由于拒绝合作,福尔曼的事业被毁于一旦。弗伦克尔让读者感受到好莱坞当时充斥着怀疑和恐惧的氛围。

Anders Rydell, The Book Thieves

安德斯•李戴尔《偷书贼》

Less well-known than the Nazi party's systematic looting of artworks from the countries they invaded and their attacks on literature through book burnings and persecution of Jewish and leftist writers was their secret plundering of libraries all over Europe. The Third Reich's goal was to capture the right to shape history by stealing, owning and twisting words stored in the libraries, archives, history and memories of Nazi enemies. Rydell, a Swedish editor and journalist, crosses Europe to investigate "the most extensive book theft in the history of the world" and reports on ongoing restitution efforts. Translated from the Swedish by Henning Koch, this is a chilling reminder of Hitler's twisted power.

相比于大规模掠夺被侵略国家的艺术品、焚毁书籍破坏文学作品、迫害犹太人和左翼作家等臭名昭著的行为,纳粹秘密掠夺欧洲图书馆的行为鲜为人知。第三帝国的目标是窃取、占有、篡改存放在图书馆的档案、史书以及纳粹敌人回忆录,以借机歪曲历史。瑞典新闻编辑兼记者李戴尔穿越欧洲,调查了“世界历史上规模最大的书籍盗窃行为”,并报道了持续进行的恢复工作。本书由亨宁•科赫翻译自瑞典语,这本书提醒着人们希特勒扭曲历史的能力令人心惊。

Vivek Shanbhag, Ghachar Ghochar

维韦克•尚贝格《心结》

The first of Shanbhag's eight novels to be translated into English follows one tight-knit family - the narrator, his parents, uncle, sister and wife - through an economic rise that causes surprising disruptions. After his father is forced into early retirement, "the whole family stuck together, like a single body across the tightrope of our circumstances." The uncle comes to the rescue, starting a small firm that buys spices in bulk from Kerala and sells them to local grocers. With his profits, the family moves from a small house in the teeming lower-middle-class area of Bangalore to a modern house on the other side of the city. But despite rising fortunes, their lives become increasingly knotted up. Shanbhag's concise novel gives "one story, many sides."

这是尚贝格的八部小说中首部被翻译成英文的作品。故事围绕着一个关系密切的家庭(主人公、他的父母、叔叔、姐姐和他的妻子)展开:随着经济状况的好转,一家人的关系意外破裂。当主人公的父亲被迫提前退休后,“整个家庭团结在一起,好像成为一个人,一起度过面前的险境。”这时叔叔的出现让情况有所好转,他开了一家小公司,从喀拉拉邦进购香料卖给当里的杂货店。叔叔赚钱后,这一家从班加罗尔热闹的中下层居住区的小房子搬到城市另一边的现代化住宅里。虽然生活越来越富有,一家人之间“心结”却越来越多。尚贝格这篇简洁的小说“从多个侧面呈现了一个故事”。

Stephen O'Shea, The Alps

斯蒂芬•奥谢《阿尔卑斯山》

O'Shea's enthralling summertime road trip through the Alps begins on the shores of Lake Geneva in Switzerland and ends in Italy, at the Adriatic port of Trieste. He reports on scores of daunting hairpin turns, awe-inspiring peaks and colourful fellow travelers, and muses on the Alpine locations of multiple James Bond films. He also adroitly sketches the historic spots he passes – the Swiss lakeside villa where Mary Shelley conceived Frankenstein in 1816, Mozart's birthplace, the Austrian salt mine where Nazis hid thousands of priceless art treasures. Breezy and informative, it a reminder of the ever-shifting attitudes toward mountains that have inspired poets and writers for centuries.

从瑞士日内瓦湖岸到意大利里雅斯特亚得里亚海港,奥谢描述了一场迷人的阿尔卑斯山夏季旅行。他记录了充满惊险的盘山公路,壮丽的山峰以及各色的同行者,还发现了《007》电影在阿尔卑斯山的多个取景地。他还巧妙地描绘了所经过的历史遗迹——1816年玛丽•雪莱在瑞士湖边的别墅构思出《科学怪人》、莫扎特的出生地、纳粹藏了无数天价艺术品的奥地利盐矿等等。这部作品文字优美、信息丰富,让人们想起几个世纪以来作家和诗人对阿尔卑斯山不同的态度变化激发了他们的创作。

Christina Baker Kline, A Piece of the World

克里斯蒂娜•贝克•克兰《世界一隅》

Kline's new novel is inspired by Christina Olson, the woman in Andrew Wyeth's best-known painting, Christina's World. Christina, who lives in the house built by her ancestors in Cushing in the US state of Maine, has been left off-kilter from a childhood illness. Her bones and joints deteriorate over the years, and her dreams of escape end when a four-year relationship with a Harvard student ends. One day Wyeth, who spends his summers nearby, asks to use their house as a studio to paint. He and Christina have an instant bond, and she, her brother Al and the house become constant themes in his work over the decades. "Sometimes a sanctuary, sometimes a prison, that house on the hill has always been my home," Baker writes in this beautifully rendered portrait of a woman's interior life.

克兰的新小说的灵感来自克里斯蒂娜•奥尔森,她是安德鲁•威特著名画作《克里斯蒂娜的世界》中的女人。克里斯蒂娜居住在缅因州库辛的祖先留下来的房子里,她因童年疾病而身患残疾,骨骼和关节多年来持续退化。她与一名哈佛大学生分手后,也失去了逃跑的梦想。直到有一天,一个叫韦思的人来她家附近过暑假,并想把他们的房子作为工作室来画画。他与克里斯蒂娜发生了一段亲密关系。克里斯蒂娜和她的哥哥Al以及这所房子成为韦思数十年来的创作主题。克兰描述了一个美丽女人的内心生活,她在书中写道:“那座房子有时是避难所,有时是监狱,归根到底,那座山上的房子始终是我的家。”

Ethel Rohan, The Weight of Him

埃塞尔•罗翰《他的体重》

Big Billy Brennan, the vulnerable man at the heart of Ethel Rohan's first novel, is mired in grief - his teenage son has just committed suicide. He's also gone up to 180kg and can't seem to stop eating. Days before returning to work as a quality inspector at a toy factory in rural Ireland, he begins walking a few laps around the house. He grows determined to wage a public campaign to lose half of his weight, and raise funds for suicide prevention. His parents, wife and three remaining children are aghast. Despite setbacks, he sticks to his plan. In heart-rending passages, Rohan captures the ways in which parents blame each other and themselves for the loss of a child, and the courage it takes to change.

埃塞尔•罗翰第一部小说的主人公是一个脆弱的大块头比利•布伦南。他因十几岁的儿子刚刚自杀而深陷悲伤。他无法控制自己的饮食,体重也上升到180公斤。在回到爱尔兰乡下的玩具工厂当质检员的前几天,他开始在房子周围走上几圈。他随后决定发起一项公众运动,以减掉自己一半的体重,并为预防自杀事业集资。布伦南的父母、妻子和另外三个孩子被他的举动惊呆了。尽管困难重重,他始终坚持自己的计划。书中的父母在失去孩子后彼此责备又深感自责,然后鼓起勇气做出改变,罗翰的这种描写方式十分虐心。
 


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