翻译 —— 石黑一雄:我如何在四周内写出《长日留痕》【Kazuo Ishiguro: how I wrote The Remains of the Day in four weeks】

MagicDon 2015-01-25 15:35:51
原文地址:http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/dec/06/kazuo-ishiguro-the-remains-of-the-day-guardian-book-club

The author reveals how the Tom Waits song Ruby’s Arms served as inspiration for his Booker prize-winning classic novel
作家透露汤姆·威兹(Tom Waits)的歌曲《露比的手臂》(Ruby’s Arms)如何赋予他灵感,使他写出了这部斩获布克奖的经典小说。


Many people have to work long hours. When it comes to the writing of novels, however, the consensus seems to be that after four hours or so of continuous writing, diminishing returns set in. I’d always more or less gone along with this view, but as the summer of 1987 approached I became convinced a drastic approach was needed. Lorna, my wife, agreed.
许多人必须长时间工作。然而就小说而论,大家似乎普遍认为,连续写作超过四小时之后,收益递减效应便会降临。我一直比较赞同这一观点,可随着1987年的夏天日益临近,我愈发坚信,自己需要一种更为极端的写作模式。内子洛娜对此表示赞同。

Until that point, since giving up the day job five years earlier, I’d managed reasonably well to maintain a steady rhythm of work and productivity. But my first flurry of public success following my second novel had brought with it many distractions. Potentially career-enhancing proposals, dinner and party invitations, alluring foreign trips and mountains of mail had all but put an end to my “proper” work. I’d written an opening chapter to a new novel the previous summer, but now, almost a year later, I was no further forward.
直到那一刻,我才相当好地保持了创作与产出的稳定节奏;那时,我辞去全职工作已有五年之久。但是,随着我第二部小说的出版,我在社会上获得了成功,也首次感受到成功所带来的恐慌,以及各式各样扰人心神的琐事。有可能助我事业更上一层楼的提议、晚宴与派对的邀请,诱人的海外旅行,堆积如山的信件,这一切,几乎为我的“正常”工作画上了句号。去年夏天,我已写好新小说的第一章,可如今,几乎一年已经过去,我却毫无进展。

So Lorna and I came up with a plan. I would, for a four-week period, ruthlessly clear my diary and go on what we somewhat mysteriously called a “Crash”. During the Crash, I would do nothing but write from 9am to 10.30pm, Monday through Saturday. I’d get one hour off for lunch and two for dinner. I’d not see, let alone answer, any mail, and would not go near the phone. No one would come to the house. Lorna, despite her own busy schedule, would for this period do my share of the cooking and housework. In this way, so we hoped, I’d not only complete more work quantitively, but reach a mental state in which my fictional world was more real to me than the actual one.
于是,洛娜与我想出了一个计划。在四周的时间内,我将彻底取消一切安排,进行一项计划,我们有些神秘地称其为“崩溃(Crash)”。在此期间,我会从上午九点一直写到下午十点半,从礼拜一写到礼拜日。我有一小时的午餐时间以及两小时的晚餐时间。我不会看邮件,更不会答复它们,也不会靠近电话。没人来我家拜访。这段时间内,洛娜会在百忙之中,抽空做本应由我做的烹饪以及家务活。我们希望,如此一来,我不仅可以写得更多,还可以达到某种精神状态,让我觉得自己笔下的世界比真实的世界更为真实。

I was then 32 years old, and we’d recently moved into a house in Sydenham, south London, where for the first time in my life I had a dedicated study. (I’d written my first two novels at the dining table.) It was actually a kind of large cupboard on the half-landing and lacked a door, but I was thrilled to have a space where I could spread my papers around as I wished and not have to clear them away at the end of each day. I stuck up charts and notes all over the peeling walls and got down to writing.
当时我32岁,我们刚搬进位于伦敦以南的西德纳姆的新家,在这里,我这辈子头一遭拥有了一间属于自己的书房。(我前两部小说都在餐桌上完成。)所谓的书房,其实就是楼梯平台上的某种大型橱柜,连一扇门都没有,可我仍然激动不已,毕竟我拥有了一块天地,在那,我能随心所欲地任意散置纸稿,也不必在每日结束时收拾好它们。我在掉漆的墙上挂满了图表与便签,然后开始认真写作。

This, fundamentally, was how The Remains of the Day was written. Throughout the Crash, I wrote free-hand, not caring about the style or if something I wrote in the afternoon contradicted something I’d established in the story that morning. The priority was simply to get the ideas surfacing and growing. Awful sentences, hideous dialogue, scenes that went nowhere – I let them remain and ploughed on.
基本上,这便是创作《长日留痕》的方式。在实施“崩溃”计划期间,我肆无忌惮地写作,既不在意文体,也不在意自己下午所写的内容与当日早上所创作的内容相左。我优先考虑的,是让想法跃然纸上,逐渐生发。糟糕的句子,可怕的对话,无用的场景 — 这些我都一并保留,然后继续笔耕不缀。

By the third day, Lorna observed during my evening break that I was behaving oddly. On my first Sunday off I ventured outdoors, on to Sydenham high street, and persistently giggled – so Lorna told me – at the fact that the street was built on a slope, so that people coming down it were stumbling over themselves, while those going up were panting and staggering effortfully. Lorna was concerned I had another three weeks of this to go, but I explained I was very well, and that the first week had been a success.
计划执行至第三日,洛娜观察到,我在晚间休息时行为有些古怪。第一个礼拜六休息日,我进行了一次户外探险;洛娜告诉我,去西德纳姆主街的路上,我一直咯咯地笑着,笑那条街建在斜坡上,笑那些下坡的人被自己绊倒,笑那些上坡的人拼命喘着气、蹒跚踱着步。洛娜担心余下来的三周我依旧会有如此行为,可我解释说我很好,而且我第一周过的相当成功。

I kept it up for the four weeks, and at the end of it I had more or less the entire novel down: though of course a lot more time would be required to write it all up properly, the vital imaginative breakthroughs had all come during the Crash.
我就这样坚持了四周,末了,我差不多已经完成了整部小说:当然,我还需要远不止四周的时间来对其进行润色,但在实施“崩溃”计划期间,想象力方面至关重要的突破业已完成。

I should say that by the time I embarked on the Crash, I’d consumed a substantial amount of “research”: books by and about British servants, about politics and foreign policy between the wars, many pamphlets and essays from the time, including one by Harold Laski on “The Dangers of Being a Gentleman”. I’d raided the second-hand shelves of the local bookshop (Kirkdale Books, still a thriving independent) for guides to the English countryside from the 1930s and 50s. The decision when to start the actual writing of a novel – to begin composing the story itself – always seems to me a crucial one. How much should one know before starting on the prose? It’s damaging to start too early, equally so to start too late. I think with Remains I got lucky: the Crash came just at the right point, when I knew just enough.
待我开始着手“崩溃”计划时,我已经做了为数可观的“研究”:有关英式仆从、以及由英式仆从写就的书籍,有关两次世界大战期间的政治与外交政策的书籍,许多当时的小册子与文章,其中包含哈罗德·拉斯基(Harold Laski)所写的《做绅士的害处》(“The Dangers of Being a Gentleman)。我突击搜查了当地书店(柯克代尔书局,一家如今依旧生意兴隆的独立书店)内的二手书书柜,寻找有关二十世纪三十年代至五十年代英国乡村的指南。到底该从何时着手实质性的写作 — 开始创作故事本身 — 于我而言,做这样的决定总是至关重要。下笔之前,究竟该了解多少相关知识?开始的过早对写作无益,开始的过早亦然。我自认为,创作《长日留痕》时我很走运:“崩溃”来的时间恰合时宜,当时我肚内的存货也刚好。

Looking back, I see all kinds of influences and sources of inspiration. Here are two of the less obvious ones:
回首过往,我领会到了灵感对我的影响,以及其源自何处。此处的两则灵感并不易为人察觉:

1) In the mid-70s, as a teenager, I’d seen a film called The Conversation, a thriller directed by Francis Ford Coppola. In it Gene Hackman plays a freelance surveillance expert, the go-to man for people who want other people’s conversations secretly taped. Hackman fanatically wants to be the finest in his field – “the greatest bugger in America” – but becomes steadily haunted by the idea that the tapes he gives to his powerful clients may lead to dark consequences, including murder. I believe the Hackman character was an early model for Stevens the butler.
1)七十年代中期,彼时的我正直年少,当时我看了一部名为《窃听大阴谋》的电影,该电影由弗朗西斯·福特·科波拉指导。电影中,吉恩·哈克曼扮演了一位从事自由职业的私家侦探,这一职业专为需要秘密录制他人对话的顾客服务。哈克曼狂热地想要成为业内的翘楚 — “美国第一块金字招牌” — 却一直受扰于一个想法:他所交给自己那位有权势的主顾的磁带,有可能导致不良后果,甚至是谋杀。我坚信,哈克曼所扮演的角色便是管家斯蒂文斯的雏形。

2) I thought I’d finished Remains, but then one evening heard Tom Waits singing his song “Ruby’s Arms”. It’s a ballad about a soldier leaving his lover sleeping in the early hours to go away on a train. Nothing unusual in that. But the song is sung in the voice of a rough American hobo type utterly unaccustomed to wearing his emotions on his sleeve. And there comes a moment, when the singer declares his heart is breaking, that’s almost unbearably moving because of the tension between the sentiment itself and the huge resistance that’s obviously been overcome to utter it. Waits sings the line with cathartic magnificence, and you feel a lifetime of tough-guy stoicism crumbling in the face of overwhelming sadness. I heard this and reversed a decision I’d made, that Stevens would remain emotionally buttoned up right to the bitter end. I decided that at just one point – which I’d have to choose very carefully – his rigid defence would crack, and a hitherto concealed tragic romanticism would be glimpsed.
2)我原本以为我已经结束了《长日留痕》的创作,可后来有一晚,我听到了汤姆·威兹唱起了他的《露比的手臂》。这首民谣讲述了一位士兵在他的爱人熟睡之际离开她、坐火车奔赴外地的故事。歌曲本身无甚稀奇。可是,歌声似出自一位粗暴的美国流浪汉,他完全不习惯将自己的真情实感公诸于众。随后的某个时刻,歌者宣称自己的心已碎;他既感伤,又极力抗拒将其表达出来,最终却还是表达了出来,这种纠结的心理,让人不禁动容。威兹庄严地,宣泄似地唱出一句又一句的歌词,你会觉得,仿佛目睹了某个人的一生,在面临巨大的悲伤之时,他所信奉的硬汉派的坚忍克己哲学却轰然崩塌。我听了这首歌以后,撤消了之前所做的一个决定,即斯蒂文斯一直到最后,都会在情感方面沉默寡言。我决定,只在某处 — 我必须小心翼翼地挑选那一处 — 他那坚不可摧的心理防线会出现一道裂缝,到此,世人将会瞥见他所隐匿的悲剧性浪漫主义。
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