读了开场白就很想看的34本英文小说书单

不止一本书里强调到过小说开头的重要性。尤其是第一句话。

因为它直接决定了你翻开后是否会读下去。

从某种意义上说,书的封面要是差点,还未必能影响你的兴趣,但第一句话,却是内容的正式开启。如果它能成功吸引到你的注意力,也许你就会在不知不觉中追完整本书。

你是否听说过那句著名的“那是最好的时代,那是最坏的时代”(It was the best of times, it was the worst of times)?也许你听过,但你可能并不知道,这只是狄更斯著作《双城记》开头那个超级大长句的开头部分而已。

也有很多书的开头简洁到一个短句的,比如《第二十二条军规》的“那真是一见钟情。”(It was love at first sight.)还有,《末世男女》里的“雪人在黎明前醒来。”(Snowman wakes before dawn.)事实上,罕有开头长到《双城记》那个程度的经典小说。然而它的长自有独特的一面,不信你读一读,是不是有种史诗的效果和气概呢?

看看这些被广泛阅读的名著是怎样开头的,也许能提醒你检视一下自己的文字。而且下面列举的书,时间跨度也比较大,也能反映一些时代的印记,读来相当有意思。

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

They're out there.Black boys in white suits up before me to commit sex acts in the hall and get it mopped up before I can catch them.

他们在外面。穿白色制服的黑男孩们比我早起,公然在大厅里性交,并赶在我能抓到他们之前把地抹干净。

——肯·克西(Ken Kesey) 《飞越疯人院》(One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest,1962)

Fahrenheit 451

It was a pleasure to burn.

烧东西给人一种乐趣。

——雷·布莱伯利(Ray Bradbury) 《华氏451度》(Fahrenheit 451,1953)

The Princess Bride

This is my favorite book in all the world, though I have never read it.

这是全世界我最爱的书,虽然从来没读过。

——威廉姆·高德曼(William Goldman) 《公主新娘》(The Princess Bride,1973)

1984

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.

四月晴冷的一天,钟敲了十三下。

——乔治·奥威尔(George Orwell) 《1984》(1949)

The Hobbit

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.

在地底的洞府中住着一个霍比特人。不是个肮脏潮湿,满是虫子和淤泥气味的洞穴,也不是个干燥、光秃,啥都没有的沙洞,既没地方坐,也没东西吃;霍比特人的洞府,意味着舒舒服服。

——J.R.R.托尔金(J.R.R. Tolkien) 《霍比特人》(The Hobbit,1937)

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

You don't know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; but that ain't no matter. That book was made by Mr. Mark Twain, and he told the truth, mainly.

如果你没读过一本名为《汤姆索亚历险记》的书,你就不会认识我;不过没关系。那本书是马克·吐温先生写的,他说的大部分都是真话。

——马克·吐温(Mark Twain) 《哈克贝利·费恩历险记》(Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,1884)

Breakfast of Champions

This is a tale of a meeting of two lonesome, skinny, fairly old white men on a planet which was dying fast.

这是一个濒死的星球上两个瘦得皮包骨的,孤独的,苍老的白种男人会面的故事。
——小库特·冯内古特(Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.) 《冠军的早餐》(Breakfast of Champions,1973)

PrideandPrejudice

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.

这是条举世公认的真理,凡是拥有一大笔财富的单身汉,总想娶位太太。

——简·奥斯汀(Jane Austin) 《傲慢与偏见》(Pride and Prejudice,1813)

A Tale of Two Cities

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way--in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

那是最好的时代,那是最坏的时代,那是智慧的岁月,那是愚昧的岁月,那是信仰的时期,那是怀疑的时期,那是光明的季节,那是黑暗的季节,那是希望的春天,那是失望的冬天,我们拥有眼前的一切,我们眼前一无所有,我们都在直奔天堂,我们都在直奔反方向——简而言之,那段时期充其量跟现在不相上下,某些最喧嚣的权威坚称,不管它是正是邪,都只用形容词最高级来比照。

——查尔斯·狄更斯(Charles Dickens) 《双城记》(A Tale of Two Cities,1859)

The stranger came early in February, one wintry day, through a biting wind and a driving snow, the last snowfall of the year, over the down, walking as it seemed from Bramblehurst railway station, and carrying a little black portmanteau in his thickly gloved hand.

寒冬二月的一天,冒着刺骨的寒风和漫天飞舞的雪花,一个陌生人早早地到来。这是今年最后一场雪。他从头到脚包裹严实,戴着厚手套的手提着个小小的黑色旅行箱,像是从布兰勃赫斯特火车站步行走过来的。

——赫伯特·乔治·威尔斯(H. G. Wells ) 《隐形人》(The Invisible Man,1897)

If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.

你要是真想听我说,很可能你头一件想知道的事就是我在哪出生,我倒霉的童年如何度过,父母在生我之前忙活什么,以及所有大卫科波菲尔式的废话,但跟你说实话,我不想细谈。

——杰罗姆·大卫·塞林格( J. D. Salinger) 《麦田里的守望者》(The Catcher in the Rye,1951)

Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun. Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety-two million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea.

—颗小小的名不经传的黄色太阳,位于银河系西螺旋臂的末端那片未被标注的闭塞之处。一颗完全无足轻重的蓝绿色小行星,运行在距它大约9800万英里的轨道上。这颗行星上由猿演化而来的生命形式原始得令人吃惊,他们仍然认为电子表是个相当精妙的点子。

——道格拉斯·亚当斯(Douglas Adams) 《银河系漫游指南》(The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy,1979)

We were somewhere around Barstow, on the edge of the desert, when the drugs began to take hold.

毒品交易开始猖獗之时,我们正在沙漠的边缘,巴斯托附近。

—— 亨特·S. 汤普森(Hunter S. Thompson) 《赌城风情画/惧恨拉斯维加斯 : 一场直捣美国梦的凶蛮之旅》(Fear a
nd Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream,1971)

When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow. When it healed, and Jem’s fears of never being able to play football were assuaged, he was seldom self-conscious about his injury.

当快满十三岁的时侯,我哥哥杰姆的肘关节严重骨折。伤好之后,他对于再也玩不了橄榄球的担心也缓解了,很少再对自己的伤敏感。

——哈珀·李(Harper Lee) 《杀死一只知更鸟》 (To Kill a Mockingbird,1960)

It was love at first sight.

那真是一见钟情。

——约瑟夫·海勒(Joseph Heller) 《第二十二条军规》(Catch-22,1961)

All happy families resemble one another, but each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.

幸福的家庭都相似,不幸的家庭却各有各的不幸。

——列夫·托尔斯泰(Leo Tolstoy) 《安娜·卡列尼娜》(Anna Karenina,1877)

The drought had lasted now for ten million years, and the reign of the terrible lizards had long since ended. Here on the Equator, in the continent which would one day be known as Africa, the battle for existence had reached a new climax of ferocity, and the victor was not yet in sight. In this barren and desiccated land, only the small or the swift or the fierce could flourish, or even hope to survive.

旱情已经持续了一千万年,恐怖蜥蜴的统治时代早已结束。赤道上,将有一天会以“非洲”闻名的大陆上,生存的战斗已经达到新一轮残暴的高潮,胜负未分。在这一片荒芜、龟裂的土地上,只有微小、敏捷或凶猛的生物才可能繁衍甚至有希望活下去。

——亚瑟·查尔斯·克拉克((Arthur C. Clarke) 《2001太空漫游》(2001: A Space Odyssey,1968)

Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board.

远处的船承载着每个男人的心愿。

——佐拉·尼尔·赫斯顿(Zora Neale Hurston) 《凝望上帝》(Their Eyes Were Watching God,1937)

When the blind man arrived in the city, he claimed that he had traveled across a desert of living sand.

当瞎子到达这个城市的时候,他宣称自己穿越了一片活的沙漠。

——凯文•布罗克迈耶(Kevin Brockmeier) 《死者简史》(The Brief History of the Dead,2006)

In the town they tell the story of the great pearl- how it was found and how it was lost again.

城里,人们讲着大珍珠的故事——它是怎样被找到,又是怎样再次丢失的。

——约翰·斯坦贝克(John Steinbeck) 《珍珠》(The Pearl,1947)

Snowman wakes before dawn.

雪人在黎明前醒来。

——玛格丽特·阿特伍德(Margaret Atwood) 《末世男女/羚羊和秧鸡》(Oryx and Crake,2003)

"Where's Papa going with the ax?" said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast.

“爸爸拿着斧子去哪?”在他们收拾桌子准备吃早饭时,芬问她的母亲。

——E.B.怀特(E. B. White) 《夏洛的网》(Charlotte's Web,1952)

When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold. My fingers stretch out, seeking Prim’s warmth but finding only the rough canvas cover of the mattress. She must have had bad dreams and climbed in with our mother. Of course, she did. This is the day of the reaping.

我醒来的时候,另一边床是冷的。我伸出手指,找寻普瑞姆的温暖,但只摸到了盖在床垫上的粗布被套。她一定又做了噩梦,爬进咱妈的被窝里去了。当然,她确实这么做了。这是个收获的日子。

——苏珊·柯林斯(Suzanne Collins) 《饥饿游戏》(The Hunger Games,2008)

The story so far: In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.

迄今为止,故事如下:起初,宇宙被创造出来。这激怒了许多人,被普遍视为一件劣迹。

——道格拉斯·亚当斯(Douglas Adams) 《宇宙尽头的餐厅》(The Restaurant at the End of the Universe,1980)

When I stepped out into the bright sunlight from the darkness of the movie house, I had only two things on my mind: Paul Newman and a ride home.

当我从电影院的黑暗走到明亮的阳光下,我脑子里只有两件事:保罗·纽曼和搭车回家。

——S·E·辛顿(S.E.Hinton) 《局外人》(The Outsiders,1967)

Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.

家住女贞路4号的德思礼先生和德思礼太太,总是自豪地说,他们一家极为正常,拜托。

——J.K.罗琳(J. K. Rowling) 《哈利波特与魔法石》(Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone,1997)

In the corner of a first-class smoking carriage, Mr. Justice Wargrave, lately retired from the bench, puffed a cigar and ran an interested eye through the political news in the Times.

在头等车厢吸烟室的角落里,最近刚刚退休的沃格雷夫法官先生抽着雪茄,饶有兴味地浏览着《泰晤士报》上的政治新闻。

——阿加莎·克里斯蒂(Agatha Christie) 《无人生还》(And Then There Were None,1939)

ONCE there were four children whose names were Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy. This story is about something that happened to them when they were sent away from London during the war because of the air-raids.

从前,有四个孩子,名字分别叫做彼得、苏珊、爱德蒙和露茜。这个故事讲的是他们在战争期间因为空袭,被送离伦敦期间所经历的事情。

——C·S·路易斯(C. S. Lewis) 《狮子、女巫与魔衣橱》(The Lion, the Witch and the Wardobe,1950)

James Bond, with two double bourbons inside him, sat in the final departure lounge of Miami Airport and thought about life and death.

詹姆斯·邦德,喝过2盎司波本威士忌,坐在迈阿密机场的终点站侯机室里,思索着生死。

——伊恩·弗莱明(Ian Fleming) 《金手指》(Goldfinger,1959)

In the land of Ingary, where such things as seven-league boots and cloaks of invisibility really exist, it is quite a misfortune to be born the eldest of three.

(在英格里之地,像七里靴和隐身斗篷这种东西真实存在的地方,身为三个孩子中的老大实在很不幸。)

—— 戴安娜•韦恩•琼斯(Diana Wynne Jones) 《哈尔的移动城堡》(Howl's Moving Castle,1986)

Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do; once or twice she had looked into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, “and what is the use of the book,” thought Alice, “without pictures and conversations?”

爱丽丝厌倦了和姐姐一起坐在河岸上,无所事事;她朝姐姐正看的书瞟过两眼,但书里面既没插图也没对话。“这书有啥意思,”她想,“连插图和对话都没有?”

——刘易斯·卡罗尔(Lewis Carroll) 《爱丽丝梦游仙境》(Alice's Adventures in Wonderland,1865)

“In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since.
"Whenever you feel like criticizing any one," he told me, "just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had.”

(在我年纪更轻,感情更脆弱的那些年里,父亲曾给过我一句忠告,这话至今仍萦绕在我心头。
“任何时候,当你想批评什么人,”他对我说,“只要记住,这世上并不是所有人都具备你所拥有的优势。”)

——弗·司各特·菲茨杰拉德( F. Scott Fitzgerald) 《了不起的盖茨比》(The Great Gatsby,1925)

The year 1866 was signalized by a remarkable incident, a mysterious and inexplicable phenomenon, which doubtless no one has yet forgotten.

1866年因为一件非凡的事件而大放异彩,一个人们无疑还没有忘记的神秘的、令人费解的现象。

——儒勒·凡尔纳(Verne, Jules) 《海底两万里》(Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea,1870)

All children, except one, grow up.

所有的孩子都会长大,只除了一个。

——J. M. 巴里(J. M. Barrie) 《彼得潘与温蒂》(Peter and Wendy,1911)


中文翻译部分为原创,转载需事先联系。谢谢配合!

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