看得见的暗,看不见的光


All the Light We Cannot See 身上,有着太多太多的光环:2015年获得普利策小说奖,出版后一直高居畅销榜单,《纽约时报》评选十大好书,各大主流媒体和书店推荐的年度最佳图书,入围美国国家图书奖决选名单。

书还没读完时便已经觉得,这些光环都不是吹捧跟风,而是实至名归。

Goodreads 上点赞人数最多的一条书评,完美总结了我想献给这本书的所有赞美:

This book has the most hauntingly beautiful prose I've ever read. It's brimming with rich details that fill all five senses simultaneously. It's full of beautiful metaphors that paint gorgeous images. I didn't want this book to end, but I couldn't put it down.

hauntingly beautiful,让我想起了中文里说的「魂牵梦萦」,书中的许多词句始终萦绕心头,令人难以忘怀。用大白话说,「haunting」有种「美到想哭」的感觉,「beautiful in a way that makes you feel sad and remember something for a long time」。

除了优美的文笔,书中丰富的细节同样让人惊叹。作者 Anthony Doerr 仿佛行走的百科全书,博物馆里的无价珍宝与精巧锁具,大自然里的花卉树木与虫鱼鸟兽,战场上的枪支大炮与无线电技术,他好像什么都知道。书评说这书,brim with rich details,太过贴切。

我一直觉得,好的小说必须真实,而要做到真实,就逃不掉细节。就好像《白鹿原》里陈忠实笔下大段大段的刻画描写,农民怎么在地里翻耕耙磨开沟播种,小媳妇儿怎么在井台上扯皮绳扳辘轳拐把绞水,木匠学徒怎么在铺面里锛圪节弹墨线,没有粗制滥造的情感堆砌,更不是空洞无趣的情节拼凑,这才是我心目中的好小说。

就像书评说的,「I didn't want this book to end, but I couldn't put it down」,我希望这本书永远没有读完的那天,却又忍不住捧在手中一直读下去。

不过我知道,光这么轻飘飘地夸上天也没用,那就从文笔优美和细节丰富两方面,给大家举几个例子吧。




All the Light We Cannot See 中有两个故事线和两条时间线,全书穿插叙述,时间与空间的交错跳转,Anthony Doerr 布了个大局,但每一处的构思设计都精准巧妙,情节的衔接也是严丝合缝。

一个故事发生在德国,男孩 Werner 父母双亡,和妹妹生活在儿童之家孤儿院,自小便显露出在收音机和无线电方面的过人天赋;另一个故事发生在法国,巴黎少女 Marie-Laure 双目失明,与在博物馆当锁匠的父亲相依为命,心思敏感,机灵善良。

一条时间线是两人的童年,另一条时间线则是二战。看似毫无关联的两个人,通过一种神奇的方式有了交集。虽然故事并没有朝我希望的方向发展,但他们偶然一次的碰撞,也足够震撼感动。



文笔优美


Marie-Laure 小姑娘并非天生眼盲,而是六岁之后视力才开始慢慢减退,最后陷入彻底的黑暗。作者描写她双目失明后的感受时写道:

What is blindness? Where there should be a wall, her hands find nothing. Where there should be nothing, a table leg gouges her shin. Cars growl in the streets; leaves whisper in the sky; blood rustles through her inner ears. In the stairwell, in the kitchen, even beside her bed, grown-up voices speak of despair. 

“Poor child.”

什么是失明?本觉得这儿该有堵墙,伸出手来却什么也摸不到;本觉得那儿大概什么也没有,却硬生生被桌脚绊到了小腿。「Where there should be a wall, her hands find nothing. Where there should be nothing, a table leg gouges her shin」,结构对仗工整,词尾略带押韵,读起来仿佛音乐般带着动人旋律。

接下来几句的动词也用得尤为精彩,「Cars growl in the streets; leaves whisper in the sky; blood rustles through her inner ears」,她能听到汽车在街上咆哮,树叶在空中低语,甚至连内耳血液流动时的沙沙作响,她也听得一清二楚。然而最刺耳的,却是街坊邻居带着绝望同情无处不在的议论:「这孩子真可怜」。



战争爆发后,Marie-Laure 随父亲逃难,在法国港口城市 Saint-Malo 住了好几年,却是在父亲不幸被捕之后才第一次真正来到海边,近在咫尺听到大海的声音,感受到大海的磅礴壮阔:

The ocean. The ocean! Right in front of her! So close all this time. It sucks and booms and splashes and rumbles; it shifts and dilates and falls over itself; the labyrinth of Saint-Malo has opened onto a portal of sound larger than anything she has ever experienced.

一个个动词机关枪般蹦了出来,sucks,booms,splashes,rumbles,shifts,dilates,falls over。每个词都恰到好处,哪怕 Marie-Laure 只能听到声音,大海时起时落奔腾翻涌拍打海岸波涛壮阔的样子仿佛就在眼前。整段话读起来朗朗上口,节奏分明,简单几句话便调动了读者的感官,仿佛掉进书中,跟小姑娘一起站在了海边。



书的后半部分,Werner 从地窖中拼死逃出,Marie-Laure 获救转危为安,二人静静坐在阁楼里,有一搭没一搭地说着话。这是 Werner 生命里第一次,也是唯一一次和她坐在一起说话。作者描写他当时的心情说:

The window glows. The slow sandy light of dawn permeates the room. Everything transient and aching; everything tentative. To be here, in this room, high in this house, out of the cellar, with her: it is like medicine. 

slow sandy light of dawn,黎明时分柔和的光线,仿佛流沙般缓缓漏进阁楼的窗子,匠心独运的形容词,再配上恰到好处的动词,permeat,晨光就这样在我们眼前穿透房间。当然,最精彩的是接下来几个看似简单的动词和介词短语:


to be here
in this room
high in this house
out of the cellar
with her

读起来,宛如舌尖在跳舞。

没想到简单的结构,也能让人产生强烈的感动。对,此时此刻,他就在这里,小小房间,高高阁楼,远离地窖,和她一起,就是一剂良药,让他忘掉一切疲倦痛苦。



细节丰富


除了优美的文笔,作者 Anthony Doerr 的博学多才简直令我辈惊叹。他对笔下每样事物都了如指掌,比如 Marie-Laure 父亲在博物馆为各个房间打造的钥匙:

Inside the key pound, inside six glass-fronted cabinets, thousands of iron keys hang from pegs. There are blanks and skeletons, barrel-stem keys and saturn-bow keys, elevator keys and cabinet keys. Keys as long as Marie-Laure’s forearm and keys shorter than her thumb.

在读到这段话之前,我从来不知道钥匙还有这么多种。故事情节里穿插的这些真实的细节,才最考验小说作者的功底。



又比如无线电神童 Werner 给德国军官修理收音机时的场景:

Werner unscrews the backing and peers inside. The tubes are all intact, and nothing looks amiss. “All right,” he mumbles to himself. “Think.” He sits cross-legged; he examines the circuitry. The man and the woman and the books and the rain recede until there is only the radio and its tangle of wires. He tries to envision the bouncing pathways of electrons, the signal chain like a path through a crowded city, RF signal coming in here, passing through a grid of amplifiers, then to variable condensers, then to transformer coils . . .

他把收音机背后螺丝拧开,unscrew the backing,往里头瞧了瞧,发现所有线路正常,好像也没缺什么东西。然后这孩子盘着腿,sits cross-legged,就开始思考,脑海里勾勒出收音机的电路系统。坐在一旁的军官和他的妻子,他们在读的书,窗外的大雨,此时全都消失不见,他的脑中只剩下收音机,还有那纵横交错的线路。

他在脑海里模拟电子的移动轨迹,the bouncing pathways of electrons,把信号系统想象为拥挤城市里的交通,射频信号,RF signal,从这边发射出来,又从那边穿过扩音器,amplifier,再穿过可变电容器,variable condenser,再到变压器线圈,transformer coil ……

惊人的细节,专业的术语,可不是随便拎出一个作家都能有这种本事。




当然,除了这些,All the Light We Cannot See 书中,还有宏大背景下对战争与人性的思考。

就好像 Werner 离开家乡前与妹妹 Jutta 之间的那场争执,她激动地控诉,说自己在广播里听到法国人如何评价纳粹德军的暴行,又质问 Werner:难道就因为身边所有人都支持纳粹,这件事就是对的吗?

“Hush, Jutta. Please.”

“Broadcasts from Paris. They’d say the opposite of everything Deutschlandsender says. They’d say we were devils. That we were committing atrocities. Do you know what atrocities means?”

“Please, Jutta.”

“Is it right,” Jutta says, “to do something only because everyone else is doing it?”




有人问,为什么这本书会叫做 All the Light We Cannot See,背后究竟有什么深意?

是书中盲人小姑娘 Marie-Laure 看不到的光吗?还是 Werner 和妹妹 Jutta 小时候窝在一起听的收音机节目里提到的光呢?

对此,作者给出了如下回答:

"The title is a reference first and foremost to all the light we literally cannot see: that is, the wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum that are beyond the ability of human eyes to detect (radio waves, of course, being the most relevant). It’s also a metaphorical suggestion that there are countless invisible stories still buried within World War II — that stories of ordinary children, for example, are a kind of light we do not typically see. Ultimately, the title is intended as a suggestion that we spend too much time focused on only a small slice of the spectrum of possibility." - Anthony Doerr 


我们看不见的,是电磁波谱上超出人眼可见范围的波长,即小说中不断重复提及的收音机电波。除此之外,我们看不见的,还有埋葬在二战血雨腥风中的故事,那些家破人亡,那些妻离子散,那些离别心碎痛苦绝望。

看得见的暗,看不见的光。

但总归,就像作者最后说的,人们有时候可能就是太执着地关注某个点,忘了世界其实充满着无限的可能。小说的结局也是一样,虽算不上完美收场,但至少是泪中带笑,留下了希望。

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