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[活动推荐] 读一本好书,约翰•伯恩,《等一等,再离开》 [复制链接]

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    发表于 2018-1-4 15:15:41 |显示全部楼层

    John Boyne, Stay where you are and then leave (2013)


    John Boyne is an Irish author of novels for adults and young readers, including the award-winning The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (2005) set in Germany during World War Two.His fourth children’s novel, Stay Where you are and then leave, also shortlisted for the Irish book awards Children’s book of the Year (2013), opens in London on the 28th  of July, 1914, as the First World War is breaking out. It is also Alfie Summerfield’s fifth birthday and all he wants in the world is to ride the milk float with his father Georgie and deliver the milk. Georgie promises not to enlist in the army, but arrives home the next day wearing a soldier’s uniform having signed up. At first Alfie and his mother, Margie, receive cheerful letters from Georgie from the training camp and then from France, but the letters become increasingly darker and confused, and Margie refuses to read them to Alfie and hides them. Later Alfie find them and reads them for himself, and then after Georgie has been away for over two years, the letters stop altogether. Margie tells Alfie that this is because Georgie is on a secret mission and cannot write to them anymore. Alfie is not convinced and thinks that his father must be dead, but after a chance discovery that his father is in a hospital in England, he sets out on his own mission to bring his father home.

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    约翰·伯恩是一位爱尔兰籍的小说家,他的小说主要是面向成人和年轻读者。他的作品有曾获奖的《穿条纹衣服的男孩》,故事背景为二战时期的德国。他的第四部儿童小说《等一等,再离开》也入围了2013年爱尔兰图书奖之年度最佳童书,这部小说的背景设定在1914728日的伦敦,适逢一战爆发。这是阿尔菲•萨默菲尔德(Alfie Summerfield)的第五个生日,他想要的不过是与他的父亲乔治坐着送牛奶的马车一起去送牛奶。他的父亲乔治向他保证,他不会去参军——但第二天他就穿着一身军装回家了,他食言了。最开始,阿尔菲和他的母亲玛吉能收到乔治从训练营中寄回的信,信的内容也比较明朗;后来收到的是从法国寄回的信,但信的内容逐渐变得压抑起来,玛吉会把信都藏起来,不再读给阿尔菲听。再后来,阿尔菲自己找到了这些信,看了里面的内容。乔治离开两年后,便不再有信寄回来了。玛吉告诉阿尔菲是因为乔治在执行秘密任务,不能再给他们写信了。阿尔菲不信,认为他的父亲一定是死了。一个偶然的情况下,阿尔菲发现他的父亲就在英国的一家医院里,他决定把父亲从这个医院救出来。

    While some of the events in the novel seem contrived, such as Alfie’s meeting with the Prime Minister and the plot device whereby he find out where his father is, Boyne’s novel is remarkable for his treatment of narrative point of view. The novel uses a third person narrator, but events are described almost entirely from Alfie’s point of view. As with Boyne’s earlier novel, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, this technique shows how large-scale events impact on the life of an ordinary young person and also how a young person’s understanding of events can be limited and confused. Those limitations, in turn, can be empowering for readers who are able to know what the character knows, but are also able to fill in gaps in that understanding through their own knowledge of the world and history. Further, those readers with little knowledge of the events of World War One will be inspired by the gaps in Alfie’s narration to find out more about that history: why, for example, are Alfie’s neighbours, the Janāček family, taken away by soldiers as ‘persons of interest’? The technique also allows Boyne to create a believable young character who, by virtue of his ignorance and naivety, is also empowered to rescue his father, but to also help support his mother financially. In this way, Boyne’s narrative techniques treat both his readers and his characters with an intellectual respect: readers are not lectured or talked down to, but rather expected to have the intellectual resources to put the story together; and his characters are intelligent and resourceful, able to take positive actions in a chaotic and confusing world.

    尽管小说中的某些情节比较不切实际,比如阿尔菲与首相的见面以及发现父亲的情节设计,但是伯恩的小说对于叙述视角的处理十分了得。这本小说采用的是第三人称视角,但大部分的故事情节是从阿尔菲的角度来描述的。和伯恩早期的小说《穿条纹衣服的男孩》一样,这种叙事技巧展示了一战给普通年轻人的生活带来的巨大影响,也展示了年轻人思考一战的角度是受限的,也是令人困惑的。而这些限制反过来也能让读者了解小说人物知晓的事情,使读者能够通过自身对世界和历史的了解填补理解上的空白。而那些对一战知之甚少的读者,能够受到阿尔菲叙事空白的启发,更多地去了解历史:例如,为什么士兵们把阿尔菲的邻居-Janāček家族当做‘疑犯’带走了?这种叙事技巧也使得伯恩创造出了一个可靠的、年轻的人物形象,他的纯真促使他想要救出自己的父亲,也促使他在经济上帮助自己的母亲。通过这种方式,伯恩的这种叙事技巧既尊重了读者,也尊重了小说中的人物:读者们感受到的不是说教或轻视,而是能发动脑筋把故事串联在一起;小说中的人物也是聪明机智的,能在乱世中以积极的行为来面对。

    Boyne’s writing is also remarkable for its detailed focus on the everyday lives of working class Londoners and the sensitivity with which characters are rendered. With Georgie away in France, Alfie’s mother has three jobs: she works as a nurse at the hospital, and she does laundry and mends clothes for wealthy London women. The extreme life of poverty in which she and Alfie are living in is alluded to through details such as: her constant worrying about how the bills are to be paid, her tiredness and unusual shortness of temper with Alfie, and references to food shortages in contrast to the array of food Margie prepared for Alfie’s fifth birthday party on the eve of the war. Through characterisation, the author depicts a diverse cross-section of the London populace, showing how everyday people lives in London were changed during and after the war. Alfie’s neighbour and best friend, KalenaJanāček, who was born in London, lives with her father, Mr Janāček, a migrant Jew from the Eastern European city of Prague, who owns and runs the local corner-store and sweet shop. Before the war they are an accepted part of the community. Six months into the war, however, Mr Janāček’s shop windows are smashed, the store vandalised and graffiti, reading ‘No Spies Here’, painted on the door. Shortly after this, soldiers arrive and Kalena and her father are taken away to an Internment camp. Another neighbour, Joe Patience, is a Unionist, a supporter of the Women’s Suffrage movement (which campaigned for women to be able to vote) and a ‘conchie’, or conscientious objector – that is he refuses to enlist in the army and be made to kill others. Before the war his views are tolerated, but as the war ensues he is verbally abused and physically beaten, and after conscription is introduced he is imprisoned in Wormwood Scrubs, a London jail, for two years.

    伯恩的小说还有一个优点,就是他着重于详细描述伦敦的工人阶级每天的日常生活,以及人物角色的敏感性。当乔治远在法国的时候,阿尔菲的母亲同时做三份工作:在医院当护士,还为伦敦的贵妇们洗衣服、缝补衣服。她和阿尔菲贫穷的生活可从多个细节看出来:她一直在担心怎么支付账单、她的疲惫、很罕见地冲阿尔菲发火,以及战争爆发前阿尔菲过五岁生日的时候她准备的食物比起来,后来食物短缺的状况。通过性格描述,作者描绘出了伦敦人民生活的各个方面,也展示了战争期间和战争之后伦敦人民的生活的变化。阿尔菲的邻居,也是他最好的朋友——卡莲娜(KalenaJanāček),是一个出生在伦敦的小女孩,她跟父亲——Janāček先生生活在一起。她的父亲是从东欧的布拉格移民过来的犹太人,在当地经营杂货店和甜品店。战争爆发前,社区里的人对他们很友好。然而,战胜爆发六个月后,有人把Janāček先生家店铺的玻璃打碎了,店铺也被毁得乱七八糟,门上还写着‘这里不欢迎奸细’。不久之后,士兵把卡莲娜和他的父亲带到了集中营里。阿尔菲的另一位邻居——乔·佩兴斯,他是工会成员,支持妇女选举权运动(致力于为妇女争取选举权的运动)。此外,他也是一名‘conchie’(拒绝服兵役者),或者也可以称作‘conscientious objector’(因道义或宗教原因拒服兵役者)-意思就是说他拒绝参军杀人。战争爆发前,没有人对他的观点有异议,但是战争爆发后,他遭受了言语侮辱和身体上的拷打。自从开始征兵后,他被送进了一所伦敦的监狱-沃尔姆德斯克监狱,被判了两年监禁。

    One night in 1918 as his mother is counting the pennies in her purse and deciding whether she should pay the rent, the coal man or the grocer, Alfie, now nine, has an idea. Having seen young boys polishing men’s shoes at King Cross station, he decides that is it time for him to do his bit in contributing to the household finances. He breaks into Mr Janāček’s still empty house, ‘borrows’ his shoeshine box, and, unbeknown to his mother, begins a shoeshine business at the train station – slipping a few coins into his mother’s purse each evening, but not so many that she will notice. Alfie’s business venture further enables the introduction of more characters and more insight into varied wartime experiences, as each of Alfie’s customers have their stories to tell. Mr Podgett, a bank manager, is a regular customer who boasts to Alfie about his son, Billy, increasing the number of men that Billy commands with each mention. Towards the end of the conversation, however, his facial expression becomes sorrowful and his voice quieter, as he implicitly expresses regrets as to the kind of young man Billy has grown up to be – that is, a leader of a battalion who enjoys war and wants it to never end – and finishes saying of his son that ‘there was a kindness there once’. Alfie also meets Wilf, a young returned serviceman who works at the War Office having lost a leg at the Battle of Mons. Wilf has been given a day off to attend the funeral of his younger brother, killed in France, and he talks with anger and hatred about what it is like to be out of uniform, and the hostile reactions he receives from people who don’t notice his cane. Encounters such as these are poignant; they paint the horror of war, the hypocrisy, hatred and misery that it generates, and way in which the war impacts on so many different aspects of everyday peoples’ lives.

    1918年的一个晚上,阿尔菲的母亲正在数着硬币,发愁怎么付房租、怎么付给送煤工和杂货店费用的时候,九岁的阿尔菲脑子里冒出了一个主意。他曾经在国王十字火车站看到一群小男孩为大人们擦鞋,于是他决定,是时候该他为这个家的经济条件做点什么了。他溜进了Janāček先生那空荡荡的家里,‘借走’了擦鞋盒,然后背着他母亲开始偷偷地在火车站给别人擦鞋。每天晚上,他就悄悄地往母亲的钱包里放一些硬币,但是不能放太多,以免被他母亲发现。伴随着阿尔菲的擦鞋过程,他的每位顾客都有着自己的故事,于是小说中很自然地出现了更多的角色,也有了对各种战时体验更深刻的见解。Podgett先生是阿尔菲的常客,他一位银行经理,经常夸耀自己的儿子比利。他每次提到比利的时候,比利手底下管的人数都会变多。然而,在对话结束时,他的表情会变得暗淡,声音也会变小,隐约带着对于他的儿子比利的悔恨。比利是一名军队里的长官,享受战争,甚至希望战争永远不会结束。对话最后,他会这样说他的儿子‘他曾经也很善良’。阿尔菲认识的另一个人叫维尔夫,他很年轻,在陆军部服役,在芒斯战役中失去了一条腿。他只有一天假期回来参加他弟弟的葬礼,他的弟弟在法国被杀了。他告诉阿尔菲他是多么讨厌穿便衣,还有人们没注意到他拿着的手杖对他的敌意。以上的这些相遇都是直中要害的,它们展示了战争的恐怖以及战争带来的虚伪、仇恨和悲惨,也展示了战争给所有人生活的方方面面带来的影响。

    A central theme of the novel is with the family; while the war threatens to tear Alfie’s family apart, love and family connectedness have a healing capacity. Faced with poverty, starvation and the threat of eviction, Margie and Alfie both willingly make sacrifices. When Alfie eventually finds out where his father is, he travels to the hospital, not knowing that it is a military hospital for injured and maimed soldiers. Again, what Alfie sees here is described in detail, as is Alfie’s horrified emotional response; the visceral images of maimed and clearly distressed soldiers do not spare readers’ emotions, and, instead, paint vividly the horror and trauma that these men have experienced, and, the trauma that nine-year-old Alfie also experiences. I am reluctant to disclose how the narrative resolves, suffice to say that Boyne’s novel, on summation, is a moving, poignant but ultimately uplifting account of how individuals survived the trauma, brutality and futility of what was called The Great War, and ‘the war to end all wars’ – it is a bitter irony that there has subsequently been many more wars and that Boyne’s research has generated a beautifully written and moving novel.

    这本小书的主题围绕家庭展开;但是战争却把阿尔菲一家拆散了。爱和家人之间的血脉联结有着治愈的力量。面对贫穷、饥饿和被驱逐的困境,玛吉和阿尔菲都愿意为家庭作出牺牲。当阿尔菲最终找到他的父亲后,他跑去了医院,但是他并不知道那是一家治疗受伤和残废士兵的军队医院。随后作者详细描述了阿尔菲在医院看到的景象,以及阿尔菲惊恐的情绪反应;那些受伤的、痛苦不堪的士兵的形象,并未顾虑读者的情绪,而是很生动地展现出了这些士兵所遭受的恐惧和创伤,还有九岁的阿尔菲所遭受的创伤。我并不想解释小说的叙事走向,只用一句话总结伯恩的小说就够了,那就是感人、深刻但最终又叙述了人们如何在第一次世界大战带来的创伤、暴行和无意义中生存下来的。被宣扬为‘结束所有战争的战争’的一战——被随后的多次战争证实这是一种尖刻的讽刺。伯恩的研究造就了这本优美感人的小说。


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