细腻美丽幽默的十九世纪英国魔法 - Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell 读后

jonstrangenorrell我算不上是奥斯丁的书迷。虽然她的书改编的电影电视剧看过都很喜欢,但是她的书阴差阳错我一本都没有读过。

开始看Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell之前稍微在网上看了几眼书评。说是用奥斯丁的笔法来写魔法,因为没有参照物,心里惴惴。又有很多评论家说是成人版的哈利波特,加上zeze的推荐,所以我又满怀希望。

这本八百页的大书分成三部分。开头缓慢繁琐。第二部分就变得很好看,看到第三部分时我开始手不释卷,在两种舍不得里挣扎:舍不得放下,舍不得看完。结尾非常让我惊讶,很喜欢。

第一部分主要介绍Mr. Norrell这个英国绅士魔法师。我看两眼就放下来,想起来再看两眼,然后又随手丢开。Mr. Norrell这个小心翼翼,自私,冷酷的书呆子实在是让我没有共鸣。唯一出现的精灵的残忍和他四处扩散的绝望又让我心有余悸。最近看得这些魔幻小说,从Ursula到Gaiman都太黑暗了,黑得我这个一向神经很大条的人都有点怕怕。但是难得出现的魔法描写却又美丽非凡,让我有继续看下去的动力。

“She wore a gown the color of storms, shadows, and rain and a necklace of broken promises and regrets.”

“Woods were ringed with a colour so soft, so subtle that it could scarcely be said to be a colour at all. It was more the idea of a colour – as if the trees were dreaming green dreams or thinking green thoughts.”

“With his long hair as ragged as rain and as black as thunder, he would have looked quite at home upon a windswept moor, or lurking in some pitch-black alleyway, or perhaps in a novel by Mrs. Radcliffe.”

“The very shapes of the trees were like frozen screams.”

当第一部分里最有意思的人物,疯子似的冒牌魔法师Vinculus,跑到Mr. Norrell家给他背诵了渡鸦王的预言之后,我就跟第一次看红楼梦时看到太虚幻境里那些姑娘们的薄命册一样,说什么也要看下去了。接下来一节Vinculus和Norrell的仆人Childermass(另一个有趣人物)玩纸牌那段也很好看。
预言很美。

I reached out my hand; England’s rivers turned and flowed the other way
I reached out my hand; my enemies’s blood stopt in their veins
I reached out my hand; thought and memory flew out of my enemies’ heads like a flock of starlings;
My enemies crumpled like empty sacks.
I came to them out of mists and rain;
I came to them in dreams at midnight;
I came to them in a flock of ravens that filled a northern sky at dawn;
When they thought themselves safe I came to them in a cry that broke the silence of a winter wood

The rain made a door for me and I went through it;
The stones made a throne for me and I sat upon it;
Three kingdoms were given to me to be mine forever;
England was given to me to be mine forever.
The nameless slave wore a silver crown;
the nameless slave was a king in a strange country…

The weapons that my enemies raised against me are venerated in Hell as holy relics;
Plans that my enemies made against me are preserved as holy texts;
Blood that I shed upon ancient battlefields is scraped from the stained earth by Hell’s sacristans and placed in a vessel of silver and ivory.

I gave magic to England, a valuable inheritance
But Englishmen have despised my gift
Magic shall be written upon the sky by the rain but they shall not be able to read it;
Magic shall be written on the faces of the stony hills but their minds shall not be able to contain it;
In winter the barren trees shall be a black writing but they shall not understand it…

Two magicians shall appear in England
The first shall fear me; the second shall long to behold me;
The first shall be governed by thieves and murderers; the second shall conspire at his own destruction;
The first shall bury his heart in a dark wood beneath the snow, yet still feel its ache;
The second shall see his dearest possession in his enemy’s hand
The first shall pass his life alone; he shall be his own gaoler;
The second shall tread lonely roads, the storm above his head, seeking a dark tower upon a high hillside.

I sit upon a black throne in the shadows but they shall not see me.
The rain shall make a door for me and I shall pass through it;
The stones shall make a throne for me and I shall sit upon it.
The nameless slave shall wear a silver crown,
The nameless slave shall be a king in a strange country

与Urlsula和Gaiman不同的是,Clarke的魔法让我感觉非常开阔大气,总是和天空,风雨,雪原,英国的树林,河流,飞鸟联系在一起。很空灵,没有其它魔法书里的魔法那么黑暗。好像呼啸山庄里的风景一样。但是更有生命力,稍微多一点阳光。可能因为书中遍布各处的英国式冷幽默的缘故?

从一开始就不喜欢的Mr. Norrell, 当第二个魔法师Strange出现后,居然有三个时刻让我对Norrell充满了同情和喜爱。他主动提出收Strange为徒的那一刻;Strange要和他断绝师生关系时,他恳求Strange “Don’t do this.”那一刻;最后他发现自己和Strange一同被精灵的诅咒关在无边黑夜自己深爱的图书馆里,心中窃喜的时刻。

第二个魔法师Strange从第一部分末尾出现就让人喜欢。故事也从此好看起来。
这个讲Strange成为魔法师前当悠闲公子时的段落也很可爱。那时Arabella (Mr. Woodhope)还不是他的妻子。热恋中的Strange. Arabella常常会质问他一些他无法回答的问题,但是他就是喜欢听她训斥。

But he [Strange] soon discovered that comfort and tranquillity were poor substitutes for Miss Woodhope’s company and so he cancelled the dinner and went immediately to the house of Mr and Mrs Redmond in order to beging being unhappy as soon as possible.

再引一些英国冷幽默句子

“For, though the room was silent, the silence of half a hundred cats is a peculiar thing, like fifty individual silences all piled one on top of another.”

“Such nonsense!” declared Dr Greysteel. “Whoever heard of cats doing anything useful!”
“Except for staring at one in a supercilious manner,” said Strange. “That has a sort of moral usefulness, I suppose, in making one feel uncomfortable and encouraging sober reflection upon one’s imperfections.”

“It has been remarked (by a lady infinitely cleverer than the present author) how kindly disposed the world in general feels to young people who either die or marry. Imagine then the interest that surrounded Miss Wintertowne! No young lady ever had such advantages before: for she died upon the Tuesday, was raised to life in the early hours of Wednesday morning, and was married upon the Thursday; which some people thought too much excitement for one week.”

“When he awoke it was dawn. Or something like dawn. The light was watery, dim and incomparably sad. Vast, grey, gloomy hills rose up all around them and in between the hills there was a wide expanse of black bog.
Stephen had never seen a landscape so calculated to reduce the onlooker to utter despair in an instant. “This is one of your kingdoms, I suppose, sir?” he said. “My kingdoms?” exclaimed the gentleman in surprize. “Oh, no! This is Scotland!”

“Mr Norrell determined to establish himself in London with all possible haste. “You must get a house, Childermass,” he said. “Get me a house that says to those that visit it that magic is a respectable profession – no less than Law and a great deal more so than Medicine.”
Childermass inquired drily if Mr Norrell wished him to seek out architecture expressive of the proposition that magic was as respectable as the Church?
Mr Norrell (who knew there were such things as jokes in the world or people would not write about them in books, but who had never actually been introduced to a joke or shaken its hand) considered a while before replying at last that no, he did not think they could quite claim that.”

Clarke访谈里一段话我也很喜欢。也许英国盛产优秀作家的原因是那下不完的雨?

I can write most places. I particularly like writing on trains. Being between places is quite liberating, and looking out of the window, watching a procession of landscapes and random-ish objects, is very good for stories. I like darkened rooms too, and lamplight, and the sound of rain. On sunny afternoons I’ve been known to draw the curtains, switch on the light and play a CD of rain falling. It creates a sort of quiet, private world which helps writing sometimes.
我几乎在哪里都可以写作。最喜欢在火车上写。处于两地之间的感觉很自由,窗外流过的风景和各种偶遇的瞬间和物件都很有益于写故事。我还喜欢暗暗的屋子,台灯灯光,和雨声。我经常在周日下午拉上窗帘,打开灯,放一盘下雨的CD. 这种安静私密的世界有助于我写东西。

BBC根据这个小说拍了一个七集的电视剧,2015年播出!期待!
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