书·影

June 20, 2009 on 12:49 pm | In 书斋札记 | 6 Comments

这周读的两本书,其实都值得好好写一写,可桌上还叠着一摞想读未读的书,只好偷工减料,简记几笔先:

Everyman by Philip Roth

Philip Roth 无疑是美国当代文坛最重量级的作家,最令人惊叹的也许是他旺盛的创作力,尽管已70多高龄,却仍以一年一本的速度不断带给读者新书,今明两年又将相继有两本作品问世。看介绍,The Humbling 关涉衰老与情欲,是近几年Roth作品里常见的题材,相较之,2010年将推出的Nemesis 对我吸引更大,它讲述1944年夏天脊髓灰质炎在Newark地区大面积流行以及对当地儿童的影响。这也将是Roth的第三十一部小说。

Roth 著作等身,对他作品的了解,还不到冰山一角。Everyman 是Roth 2006年的小说,获得2007年美国笔会/福克纳小说奖( PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction),这也是Roth第三次荣获该奖。中译本即将在国内问世。一个美国朋友和我说,Roth的小说太sad,读不下去,唯一读过的一本是Everyman,因为书很薄。确实,Everyman 总共不到两百页,对读者而言,起码不会因篇幅而吓倒。小说以一场葬礼开篇,短短几页,一股无言的悲痛侵入骨髓,感受到Roth令人震撼的语言力量。整个故事弥漫了病痛与死亡的灰色基调,抓一把土,散在逝去人的棺木上,用铁锹一锹一锹把亲人的棺木埋葬,掘墓者平静地讲述怎么把墓坑挖的平整,平整得里面可以放张床……如果我们不相信来生,那么直面的死亡究竟是什么?记得纽约客有篇书评总结Roth的小说,说他像是举了块牌子,上面写着,我们只是人(human),人注定是一种有污点的存在(human stain)。而 Everyman的牌子上,赫然写着的是两个更平常的字:死亡。每个人都会死。Philip Roth 真狠。

Oliver Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

这是今年的普利策获奖小说。之前没有听说过这位作家。她的作品不算多,至今共写过三本小说和若干短篇,也在大学教授创意写作。Oliver Kitteridge 用系列故事集的方式写出新英格兰地区一个小镇的悲欢录。全书共13章,每一个章都可独立成为一个短篇,Oliver Kitteridge,一位退休的七年级数学教师,是串起这章节的核心人物。她心地善良,但说话尖酸刻薄,在小镇居民的印象里似个恶毒的妇人,以前学校的学生也都很怕她。13个故事涉及的多是情感与家庭:与多年前的恋人重逢,隐瞒的情人,出轨的丈夫,在葬礼当天才得知丈夫不忠的妻子,无法修补的母子关系,杀人凶手的母亲,失恋兼患厌食症的少女,有偷窃癖的牧师的女儿…… 还有小镇上少不了的蜚短流长。Elizabeth Strout 不仅语言优美,叙事更高妙,营造出谜样的悬念,刻画真实而复杂的人性,无论冷酷、自私、丑陋、温情,皆让人觉得haunting。

————————书影分割线————————–

好久没看DVD,从图书馆借了几部Max Ophüls的电影。他是位德国导演,但在美国法国都拍过片。看的两部都是他较后期的法语片,La RondeLe Plaisir。简洁的镜头语言,传达出丰富的叙事,宛若精致的文学短篇,concise but sophisticated。特别是运动长镜头的使用,实在令人惊艳。

某日下午被courtyard的警铃扰得无法静心读书,于是关上窗,看了许鞍华的《天水围的日与夜》,很多关注日常生活细节的画面,上班、下班、超市购物、煮菜、吃饭、看报、发呆。淡淡的忧伤与感动,含蓄节制。虽然没有特别的惊喜,但算得上许鞍华近年来最出色的一部作品,值得一看。

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  1. 菲利普罗斯描写死亡确实有种于无声处听惊雷的力量,硬是能让正青春的年轻人读得对还遥不可及的死亡畏惧起来……

    Comment by themoss — August 8, 2009 3:44 am UTC #

  2. dear lily, good to know you thru the web. I am reading Roth these days and wonder if we could share some thoughts about him. so far i have read “dying animal”, “exit ghost” and “human stain” (well, they seemed to share some overlapping themes / obsession). but i also am working on “american pastoral”, “indignation” and “everyman”, trying to get a more balanced perspective of him. among the 30ish books by him, i wonder if you have your favorite one to share w/ us. i found the latest reviews for his recent works (exit ghost, humbling, etc.) to be generally negative esp when critics compared these works w/ his earlier ones like ghost writer and american pastoral. maybe i have not read too extensively about him, but i am very impressed by his powerful verse and profound thoughts in the limited body of works i have read. do you believe that the recent negative reviews on say humbling and exit ghost could be attributable to some knee jerk reflex, given the subject(s) they are dealing with? would very much appreciated your thoughts here. best regards, Ken

    Comment by Ken — January 23, 2010 3:17 am UTC #

  3. Hi,Ken, thanks for sharing your opinion. Apparently you read much more of Roth than me. Usually the critics’ reviews, negative or positive, don’t influence my liking or disliking a book. Among the works I read by Roth, Everyman and Indignation are my favorites. The Humbling is good, too, I thought, although it didn’t won a lot of praise from book critics. As I wrote in my post on The Humbling (http://lily.wuxinan.net/archives/2027), I think the sex scene in this novella was misread or misunderstood as erotic in some book reviews.

    Comment by Lilyppbb — January 24, 2010 12:57 am UTC #

  4. Lily, thanks for getting back to me. I would agree that Humbling is not as horrible as some of the critics thought and i believe most of them are probably more offended by the plot and some of the scenes rather than by the novel itself, and it’s easy to get offended when it talks about lesbian, three-some and sodomy. however, i do think exit ghost is a much better accomplishment (despite the poor critical reviews) and i am fascinated by the way he weaved the “He and She” dialogues into the narration, creating a new realm of “reality” — if we think everything in a novel is imagined and hence NOT REAL, this “reality” is probably closer to being “real” because this is what the key character wanted to be real but knew would never happen in his “real” life (again itself being fictionalized). when you put these two “realities” in parallel (esp how Jamie Logan responded to Zackerman in real life versus in his imagination), it was pretty compelling. i never thought that was possible and was rather touched. i will let you know how i feel about indignation and everyone after i finish them. btw, what subjects do you teach in the States? best regards, Ken

    Comment by Ken — January 25, 2010 7:12 am UTC #

  5. The comparison between “reality” and being “real” is interesting. waiting to read your comments on Roth’s other works. btw, I’m not a teacher. very nice to talk about Roth with you.

    Comment by Lilyppbb — January 28, 2010 11:56 pm UTC #

  6. hi, lily, happy chinese new year. i finished “everyman” over the holiday season and am half way thru “american pastoral” now. i would like to share my views w/ you re: his books but would like to take it offline. Can you give me an email address to the following contact please: kens0606@gmail.com Thanks Ken.

    Comment by ken — March 3, 2010 8:25 am UTC #

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