纵火者

纽扣子
2018-02-14 21:34:46

手中火,心中爱

Little Fires Everywhere Celeste Ng, 2017 Penguin Publishers 352 pp. ISBN-13: 9780735224292 Author Bio • Birth—ca. 1980-81 • Raised—Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Shaker Heights, Ohio, USA • Education—Harvard University; M.F.A., Michigan University • Awards—Hopwood Award; Pushcart Prize • Currently—lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts ——LitLovers

Little Fires Everywhere,作者Celeste Ng(伍绮诗)在美国俄亥俄州的Shaker Heights长大,而这部小说讲述的,正是这个planned community中类似美剧“Desperate Housewives”的隐秘生活。

▲Desperate Housewives Season 2 Episode 8 - The Sun Won't S
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手中火,心中爱

Little Fires Everywhere Celeste Ng, 2017 Penguin Publishers 352 pp. ISBN-13: 9780735224292 Author Bio • Birth—ca. 1980-81 • Raised—Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Shaker Heights, Ohio, USA • Education—Harvard University; M.F.A., Michigan University • Awards—Hopwood Award; Pushcart Prize • Currently—lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts ——LitLovers

Little Fires Everywhere,作者Celeste Ng(伍绮诗)在美国俄亥俄州的Shaker Heights长大,而这部小说讲述的,正是这个planned community中类似美剧“Desperate Housewives”的隐秘生活。

▲Desperate Housewives Season 2 Episode 8 - The Sun Won't Set

▍暗示

小说开头便描述了Richardson家房子被Izzy放火烧掉后的混乱场景:

A little after noon on that Saturday in May, the shoppers pushing their grocery carts in Heinen’s heard the fire engines wail to life and careen away, toward the duck pond. By a quarter after twelve there were four of them parked in a haphazard red line along Parkland Drive, where all six bedrooms of the Richardson house were ablaze, and everyone within a half mile could see the smoke rising over the trees like a dense black thundercloud.

这不禁使我想起J. K. Rowling的小说《布谷鸟的呼唤》。尽管属于完全不同的故事类型,《布谷鸟的呼唤》的开头同样描写了类似的混乱场景:

警察把守着路障,路障后面聚集著大量狗仔队:长枪短炮准备就绪,呼出的气息犹如升腾的蒸汽。雪花不断飘落在帽子和肩上,戴着手套的指头不停地擦拭镜头。不时响起一阵断断续续的喀嚓声,那是狗仔队为打发等待时的无聊,在拍摄路中间的白色帆布帐篷、帐篷背后那栋红砖公寓大楼的入口和顶楼阳台,死者就是从顶楼阳台掉下来的。

这种于小说初始就刻意营造的急促感,是一种危险和不详的暗示,触动读者敏感的神经。我立马警觉起来,意识到这必然不会是一个岁月静好的故事,就像小说开头消防员说的,“there were little fires everywhere”。

▍人物

当然,读完这部小说时,我得承认,当中充斥了各种情节冲突,且话题性十足,可仍然有那么一些东西,没能进入我的内心。例如,作者所描写的Lexie对May Ling的obsession,以及Mia小时候对弟弟Warren的obsession,都埋伏了线索,预示了后面的故事。Lexie, Mia, 还有Linda,她们都是极其充满母性的女性,她们对孩子的爱,或者更确切地说,对孩子的迷恋,却给人一种不真实感。阅读过程中,我试图同这些人物对话,却隐约感受到一层隔膜。不过,这只是我个人的体验,并不影响这部小说整体的吸引力。这仍旧是个好故事,是部好小说。假如伍绮诗的上一部作品《无声告白》是她第一次对读者的告白,那这部“小火苗”则可视作她又一次的告白。每一次的阅读便是一次倾听,而只要倾听了,我们就无法忽视作者释出的诚恳。

▍线索

蒋勋在《蒋勋说红楼梦》中,对曹雪芹“编织”线索的功力大加赞赏,他认为:

任何一个文学或者戏剧,一定是很丰富的,不会仅用一条主线单一地写下去,因为如果只有一条线索的话就不能编织,要有好几条线同时进行,编织才会成功。可是这种编织很困难,在文学、戏剧的创作中,最难拿捏的是在什么时候让这一条线索再适当地出现,或者在什么时候再让这一条线索又适当地隐藏。

Little Fires Everywhere中,同样交织了多条线索,Mia和Pearl母女的生活,Richardson一家的生活,Mia的艺术追求以及她代孕并逃走的不为人知的过去,Mrs. Richardson平静内心中的风起云涌,Pearl和Moody的友谊,Pearl和Trip的恋情,Lexie的堕胎,Izzy的特立独行,还有Bebe和McCullough夫妇争夺孩子抚养权的焦点事件。

Lexie had lied; she’d used Pearl. Trip had taken advantage of her. Moody had betrayed her, on purpose. Her father was a baby stealer. And her mother: well, her mother had been at the root of it all.

每一条线索都牵动着另一条线索,每一条线索都埋伏了另一条线索,每一条线索也暗示了另一条线索,它们相互交织,无法分割。作者通过“编织”这些线索,使故事的全貌一点一点地成型,逐渐呈现在读者眼前。当线索的“编织”完成,故事也就到了尾声。

▍博弈

不同线索的交织,也呈现了不同观点之间的博弈,不同选择之间的博弈。

Now here was this Mia, a completely different kind of woman leading a completely different life, who seemed to make her own rules with no apologies. Like the photograph of the spider-dancer, Mrs. Richardson found this perturbing but strangely compelling. A part of her wanted to study Mia like an anthropologist, to understand why—and how—she did what she did. Another part of her—though she was only vaguely aware of it at the moment—was uneasy, wanted to keep an eye on Mia, as you might keep your eye on a dangerous beast.

还有不同文化之间的博弈,不同种族之间的博弈。作为一名华裔女作家,伍绮诗在小说中通过描写Mia代孕、Linda领养等一系列矛盾,触及了种族歧视和文化冲突的话题。

Asian men could be socially inept and incompetent and ridiculous, like a Long Duk Dong, or at best unthreatening and slightly buffoonish, like a Jackie Chan. They were not allowed to be angry and articulate and powerful.

小说呈现的不仅仅是Mia和Mrs. Richardson各自生活态度的博弈,也是父母与子女的博弈,生母与养父母的博弈,生育与堕胎的博弈,贫穷亚裔与富有白人的博弈,包容与偏见的博弈,传统与另类的博弈,服从与反抗的博弈。

Most of the time, everyone deserves more than one chance. We all do things we regret now and then. You just have to carry them with you.

然而这场博弈注定没有输赢。

▍多元化

作为各自独立的个体,每一个人都应当拥有自主选择的机会。Mia年轻时对摄影产生的热爱,还有她后来带着Pearl居无定所的生活,这些都可以用电影Titanic里Jack的一段话来诠释:

▲Titanic

作者想必对那些“out on their own paths, setting little fires”的人充满了敬意,当Mrs. Richardson跟Mia摊牌时,作者借Mia之口说出了这样的话:

“It bothers you, doesn’t it?” Mia said suddenly. “I think you can’t imagine. Why anyone would choose a different life from the one you’ve got. Why anyone might want something other than a big house with a big lawn, a fancy car, a job in an office. Why anyone would choose anything different than what you’d choose.”

然而,不同的生活方式并没有高低贵贱之分,开放、包容和多元化,才是解决问题的唯一途径。在一个允许多元共存的理想环境下,一个人不会因为选择了与其他人截然不同的生活方式而被视为异类,一个群体不会因为遵循了与其它群体截然不同的行为规范而被视为异类。

▍和解

在我看来,Izzy就像是另一个Mia。

Sometimes you need to scorch everything to the ground and start over. After the burning the soil is richer, and new things can grow. People are like that, too. They start over.They find a way.

这几句话,是Mia对Izzy的告诫,同时也是对自己前半生的总结。

她们有着同样的执着,同样的疯狂(尽管Mia更加成熟而机敏),Izzy最终的出走也像极了Mia当初的离开,Mia的父母之于Mia,也正如Izzy的母亲之于Izzy。所不同的是,Mia未能得到父母即时的谅解,而Izzy,却有望获得母亲的原谅。Izzy,尽管疯狂、愤怒,像Lexie所说,“freak out for no reason, do something crazy, learn nothing from it”,她还是有机会与母亲和解,并且,在她前途未卜的逃亡生涯中,也有机会与这个她一直对其满怀敌意的世界和解。

Something inside Izzy reached out to something in her and caught fire.

Izzy是纵火者,是的,但她也是那点燃星星之火的众多纵火者之一。

— END —

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