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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Winter and Night

一天内即看完这本Edgar奖最佳小说(没错,此Edgar的典故就是彼Edgar Allan Poe)。

这套系列里,Bill Smith为主的小说,至今看了两本,都很灰暗很悲惨,想想还是不要推荐算了。也许这就是为什么SJ Rozan要混合交替着写,写一本Bill Smith的,再写一本比较轻松比较温暖的Lydia Chin的。一直写这么灰暗绝望的内容谁受得了,除非你是Cormac McCarthy。

不过忍不住要感叹一下,她怎么能把颓废的中年男人们的调调写得这么生动真实呢?我私下里认定,男性心理和口吻其实比华裔移民文化和人际关系更难真实地惟妙惟肖地写出来,但是她的硬汉派文字风格如此让人信服,上至Raymond Chandler,下至Michael Connelly和George Pelecanos,比谁都不逊色,比谁都不缺半分authenticity。

有意思的是,有读者说,Lydia Chin在Lydia Chin为主的小说里显得有点ditzy,而在Bill Smith的小说里就特可爱。而我觉得Bill Smith在他自己为主的小说里显得太morose,在Lydia Chin的小说里比较可爱。这当然是故意的,情人眼里出西施嘛,所以first-person的视角是很有好处的。

这本小说是一个关于美式足球的故事,但是如果读者以为这故事讲的只是美式足球那就错了。我在网上看到一些人留下的读后感,抱怨说剧情太不真实了,一个虚构的小镇,全部人民都为足球而疯狂,失去了理智和基本的善恶,至于嘛?太不可信了。简直是洪桐县内无好人。且不说美国各地都有这种与外界相对隔绝的小镇,那里从古至今有各种变态的事情发生,即使是这个国家集体全部的历史和现状,也可以在这个疯狂的故事里找到影子。且不说美式足球、棒球、其他职业体育里的corruption and abuse的现实状况比这里描写的情景有过之而无不及,体育只不过是现实的一个缩影。

Raymond Chandler 在他的论述The Simple Art of Murder里面这样解释硬煮派侦探小说的哲学和对世界的看法:
It is not a very fragrant world, but it is the world you live in, and certain writers with tough minds and a cool spirit of detachment can make very interesting and even amusing patterns out of it. It is not funny that a man should be killed, but it is sometimes funny that he should be killed for so little, and that his death should be the coin of what we call civilization. All this still is not quite enough.


Winter and Night 是2001-02年写的,如果我在当时看了这本书,未必有那么深的感触。


One day in March 2003, I was sitting in the weak spring sunshine and having lunch at a sidewalk cafe near the MCI Center downtown (it is now called Verizon Center). Looking at the pedestrians passing by, I commented to the friend next to me how grateful I was to be spending 12 hours a day in the arena watching the figure skating world championships, practically cut off from the world. For this whole week I did nothing but sleep and watch skating, and I did not have to hear or think about the freshly declared war. She nodded and said that she felt the same way, that the competition sheltered us, sort of, from the cloud that was gathering above us and helped us temporarily forget the world outside.

Last Wednesday, I was in a car with a colleague. We did not know each other too well, since I'm new. In the small talk she mentioned that she was in the navy and that she is still in the navy reserve. She complained about PHS a bit, saying that people sitting behind the desk all day do not deserve the same benefits as those who actually saw combat. She is a nurse and works one day a week at a medical center for the wounded who have been shipped back. A friend of hers works in Germany and has been seriously traumatized by the more acute and grotesque injuries from the war. I felt sick. Then, strangely, that same afternoon on my way home, I saw a guy in a wheelchair on the street near the metro station. He was young, had a crew cut, and had that military air. Both of his legs were amputated from the thigh. I had to look away. I'm not hardboiled.

If not everyone around you, at least there is a majority of people believe in something you despise. It can be the reality. How does one live with it? Where does one run?

Once upon a time I asked Henning Mankell: "Do you believe there is real evil?" He replied that he did not believe people are by nature evil, but rather people are influenced to do evil things. Some days I think he is right. Some days I am not so sure.

1 comment:

Barbara said...

说到疯狂的与世隔绝的美国小镇,我就想起Carson McCullers的伤心咖啡馆之歌……

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