- 背叛指南 / A Map of Betrayal -


這種歷史的題材不僅要重構過去,還必須對當下也有意義。…過去的故事和現在的故事要同時展開,有時候也要纏到一起,但必須能互相推動,互相補充豐富,最終也必須有機地匯為一體…會使小說簡練,富有厚度和複雜性,但如果用得不好,容易亂套…村上春樹的《海邊的卡夫卡》和尤薩的《天堂在另一個街角》…都沒能把兩條線路完美地融為一體。…最成功的是Ruth Prawer Jhabvala的“Heat and Dust”。那部小說中現在的故事使用日記形式來述說的,而過去的故事則以第三人稱來講述。《熱與塵》我教過許多遍…但有時我的學生們會抱怨說,該書的敘述人沒有強烈的動機去印度調查那個過去的事。

缺乏細節是這部小說的主要問題。在過去的部分里,哈金似乎把他本人對英語的陌生,異國他鄉的孤單移情到了主人公身上,加上沖繩等地的自然風光,讓故事部分地活了起來。其他的填充物是從史料來的,但蓋瑞仿佛不在那些歷史的現場,他和這些事件只有感情的聯繫,辦公室、夜總會、戰俘營、接頭的餐館幾乎沒有環境細節,和他互動的對象也沒有性格特點。

在現在的部分里,哈金的長處和短處又調換了位置,他對中國,尤其中國農村掌握有豐富的素材,精確到村長老頭的酒里泡著人參須似的細細的小蛇。但莉蓮的文化背景是模糊的,一個1957年在美國出生,由愛爾蘭裔母親撫養大的女性,中文能說能寫,她華語文化的主要來源是什麼,是父親,是六七十年代唐人街的社區文化,還是美國大學的Chinese studies。她像一個進入朝鮮的西方記者,集中介紹中國社會生活的特點,比如戶籍制度,食品安全問題,高速公路高收費等等,但同時她又內心毫無異樣地出現在了國安部、退休高幹住所和農村,1988年在北京當了一學期的英語老師,這個經歷也沒留下情感上的印跡。這可能是整部小說里缺失的情緒,父女兩人都是在東西兩方之間不能扎根的飄零人,但世界對他們看起來從不顯得奇怪。

這個故事比較集中地表現力個人與國家的矛盾。這個話題是當代中國文學最重要的主題…由於宗教在中國被取締,多年來人們趨於將國家神話,當做上帝來膜拜。實際上,國家比普通人更容易犯錯誤,更可能橫行霸道,更會無視他的公民的利益和物質。任何一個國家隨時都可能成為惡棍,都必須由它的公民精心地來管理和約束。由於《背叛指南》具備這樣一個重要的主題,他也許就有了硬朗的脊梁。
[女性莉蓮]的語言和我說話方式跟我自己的不同。為了使莉蓮的語氣可信,每天動筆前我都要讀些美國當代詩人的詩作,以找到敘述的語感和節奏。

中文翻譯毀掉了這部小說的style。山東老農民說話,一股子西方小說翻譯腔。


一個月後

[母親]對這個國家的印象可以用一個詞來總結──兇殘,雖然她說這話的時候忍不住大笑起來,還加了一句:「與你爸爸同出一轍」。

父親蓋瑞在這個章節裡有模糊的輪廓,比如筆記本上抄滿座右銘,關於克制、勇氣和救贖,有尼采,也有富蘭克林羅斯福和馬丁路德金這兩個美國精神的代表;母親對他的評語是「兇殘」,情婦說他心裡孤獨,必得要個中國女人做愛人同志。這些都精煉,有清晰的指向。另外就是丹尼爾史密斯寫的《中國諜鬼》的書。

這裡有兩處不自然的缺失,一是88年學潮和六四之間的北京,11年茉莉花革命中的北京,在這兩個歷史現場,莉蓮只概述為有些人興奮,自己不抱希望,中國就是中國。這兩種情緒都沒有通過具象來寫。另一處是作為女兒讀一本關於父親的nonfiction book,父親的吃飯口味,對毛髮濃密的女人的偏好被一個陌生人公開著述,莉蓮沒有和她的家庭記憶聯繫起來,感到異樣,也沒有想過去聯繫作者。

蘇西是小說第一個著力描寫的角色,寫得很失敗。莉蓮和她說話,一個來回,就有一段對感想,人和人說話認識的過程不是這樣的。感想的篇幅壓過對話的篇幅,也顯得心潮氾濫。


一九四九

在動蕩的那年之初,他從北方來到上海。當時他的名字還不叫蓋瑞,而是偉民。

好開頭。

…這個考試並不太難。要是他不會拼寫一些詞,比如香煙、哲學家的話,他就用煙和思想者來代替。
他思念玉鳳,每晚入睡以前都要想她一小會兒。

一九五〇

…絕對不會要刺身,因為又一次他吃壞了肚子,他告訴別人說自己「食物中毒」了。
「看來咱們得在這裡再待上幾年了。我真恨金日成,這血腥的雜種!」湯馬斯叉起一塊烤雞放進嘴裡,狠狠地嚼著。
「我也很想家,」蓋瑞坦白地說,擠出一個笑容。

蓋瑞和妻子分離,跟莉蓮和丈夫的分離有了平行關係,莉蓮有Email,提醒他吃降壓藥,又覺得老公大概巴不得能做段時間的單身漢。她夫妻關係中的瑣碎、幽默和蓋瑞的煎熬有對比,同時她身體對獨自睡覺的不習慣對還沒露面的玉鳳是個foreshadowing。但莉蓮的生活里缺「食物中毒」這樣好的例子,聽見小地方餐館服務員叫她「美女」不習慣,算是個呼應,但對話寫得不自然,更讓人弄不清楚莉蓮的中文到底是「流利」還是洋涇浜。中間穿插的食品安全問題也偏題了,沒有直接指向國家和個人的矛盾。


一九五四

蓋瑞的自由轉瞬即逝。他在香港吃到一口家鄉餃子,燙得咧嘴,這時候「一艘渡船拉響了汽笛」開出去了。炳文告訴他,組織還是不讓他回國。

美國人給他的工資是兩百多美元,中共給他的工資是一百多人民幣,還有「最高的敬意」。因為他間接害死了一批他的同類,韓戰戰俘營里的反共份子,多給了五百美元。錢的數目具化了他的犧牲是否worthy。


一九五五

人們走來走去,也有兩邊掛著馱籃的驢子或騾子經過,蹄子在鵝卵石上敲出得得的聲音。一輛滿載了鼓鼓囊囊麻袋的馬車搖搖晃晃地走過去了,我注意到拉車的三匹馬中的一匹臀部上烙著「283」。也許那匹毛茸茸的蒙古矮腳馬曾在部隊服務過,現在退役了。

在東北,作者試圖通過莉蓮的眼光來感受自己的家鄉,他注意到了我們習以為常的飲水機,表示著松花江的污染、自來水的不可飲用,注意到了街上停滿烏鴉、無人看的蘇聯戰士雕像,表示著英雄的obsolescence。還有退役的馬。

在見珠麗和本寧的時候,莉蓮的話是對父親年輕時選擇的反駁。她告訴珠麗,「什麼是一個好生活?就是讓工作和愛好變成同一件事。」她不讚成珠麗出於事業做老男人的情婦。她也試圖告誡本寧,國家這個概念不值得愛。

我在班上說:「如果你不能清晰地寫作,要麼是你的腦袋真的糊塗,要麼就是你不敢表達自己的真情實感。對我來說,清晰是智識的一個重要特征。」

臺下的學生說,中文的風格就是不那麼直言不諱,沒有什麼東西是絕對的,應該避免太極端。可是在後一章,到了「防火墻之父」來演講時,他們用直白的砸和罵,趕走了這個人。

他西服領口別著麥在台上──仍然是傳道受業的老師形象──卻向學生們罵「我會找你們算賬的!」他的話從麥里嗡嗡迴響。中國年輕人被施加著兩種矛盾的教育,也作出了兩種矛盾的反應。


一九五八

「啊!」她喘著粗氣,嘴巴張開著,就像離開了水的魚。他嘴裡喊著她的乳頭,背拱著,一下下像她的身體里猛衝。他們發出哐哐的冬景和肆無忌憚的呻吟,一點都不管別人會不會聽見,他們以為整幢樓里都沒人能聽懂他們愛的囈語。淹沒在慾望的漩渦裡,他們不顧羞恥,卸掉了平日自重的鎧甲。他們直白地叫喊出各種身體和動作有關的詞語,而這些粗俗不雅的名詞或動詞他們在美國都是聞所未聞。他們仿佛是被遺忘的咒語,為了證實他們自身的存在。這些污言穢語瘋狂地捲土重來,讓兩人更加激烈地交合,如同兩隻發情的野獸。

Gary在家不小心把child說成children,睡在Nellie身邊說中英夾雜的夢話,夢裡的玉鳳又是說英文的。他不願意睡在Nellie身邊,他控制性的次數,跟Nellie解釋動物的發情期,在性裡也有一種達成任務的意識。Gary和Suzie有了這段張揚狂野的性,而Lilian在中國的舞台上看著詭異的性表演,警察忽然上台逮捕,Juli遭到連坐。性的壓抑,國家無孔不入的威脅,是在Gary和Lilian生活的時空裡平行發生的。


1971–1972

“…But come to think of it, it really doesn’t mean much to me — it might not affect my life one bit there. I’m just a translator at the CIA, like a lowly clerk.”
“But you are our hero!” Bingwen persisted. “Your feats will go down in our Party’s intelligence history. You’re a dagger plunged in the enemy’s heart.”
Gary twitched as his insides tightened. Through the window, a cinema flitted by, flaunting a garish ad for the Bruce Lee movie Fist of Fury. In the north a lone light kept flashing on the murky water as if it were signaling a message. Gary was a heartbeat from saying he’d trade any heroic name for a normal life, but he closed his eyes as if he were about to drift off to sleep. He stifled the urge to cry.

故事線沒有節奏地交待下去,沒有高潮,一個書評人稱為“a highly refined aesthetic of anti-excitability”,但我感到故事也因此失去了著力點,沒有細節的流水一般過去了。

這段是難得寫得濃墨重彩的一段。它鋪墊了後面的劇情。Gary為了做一個decent man,為了給Nellie一段正常的生活,暴露了自己的身份。只是這心理太理想,太順當。當我看到金無怠的維基百科,一切都way more real。但看多了中文小說的曾鳴說,中國作家大多只會寫實,沒有想象力,不能變異,而哈金“如果寫中國一間房子里發生的事情,就很靠譜,要走出屋子,尤其是國外的屋子,就很麻煩”。

閱讀英文,我更能理解哈金用英語寫作是個“個人悲劇”,他文字的聲音里有北中國笨重、粗疏的accent。主人公從中國人改成會說中文的美國人,從文化背景到談吐,要做個乾坤大挪移,而哈金的英語并不credible。我又看了一些資料,和他最新的小說《The Boat Rocker》,更能體會他在英語上的掙扎。就像John Updick概括的,「His prize-winning command of English has a few precedents, notably Conrad and Nabokov, but neither made the leap out of a language as remote from the Indo-European group, in grammar and vocabulary, in scriptural practice and literary tradition, as Mandarin.」中文世界里也有用英文寫作的precedents,林語堂,韓素音,英語的水準和描述中國的真實自然程度,都是張愛玲瞧不上的。張愛玲自己的“Naked Earth”和“Rice-sprout Song”又不逢時。但無論是誰,相通的是對英文的較勁,這股勁連在李安身上也有trace。中文世界只是個小星球,唯其就在大家腳底下,引力大得難以掙脫。


作者资料

哈金一学期只教一门课,今年9月,他教授“移居者文学”,来年开春是“长篇小说写作”。他出版了18部英文作品,多次获得了海明威奖、福克纳奖等奖项,其中长篇小说《等待》得到美国文学界最高荣誉之一 — 美国国家图书奖。
他开始学英语是1976年离开部队在佳木斯铁路局工作时,周一到周六,早上5点开始,晨间广播“一开始是‘毛主席万岁’、‘共产党万岁’,然后才开始‘Is that a chair?No, that’s a table.’。”恢复高考后,他的第一志愿是中国文学,却被最后一个志愿黑龙江大学英语系录取。他对英语并不具天赋,也缺乏兴趣,常抱怨练口语让他的下巴、舌头、嗓子发疼。30岁的哈金来到美国。尤金·古德哈特(Eugene Goodheart)是哈金在美国第一堂英语专业课的老师。“1985年是文学史上重要的一年,在课堂上大家激烈地争论女权主义、后殖民主义、解构主义⋯⋯我都控制不了他们,但哈金就在那里很沉默⋯⋯到期末的时候给学生打分,他课堂参与的分数就没有。”哈金向《人物》回忆,那时自己极度自卑、不敢开口,“在国内学的是四不像英语⋯⋯关键是说怕别人听不懂。”“到美国两三年后才开始用英语思考。当我理性的时候,我用英语思考⋯⋯但是我情绪化的时候,我的中文就会蹦出来。”“这(英文写作)本身就是巨大的分裂在里头,但又没有办法,人总得生存吧!”哈金曾感慨选择英文写作是“个人悲剧”。莱斯利破例答应博士还未毕业的哈金旁听他的写作课,“他那时候的困扰,是要‘如何活着的困扰’,而不只是‘写作困扰’。他孩子也小,老婆好像也不在工作⋯⋯但他还是坐在那里,读着字典里的每一个单词和解释,太了不起了。”直到现在,哈金还保留着“没事翻几页”英文字典的习惯,“把不知道的(单词)标记一下。”
窘况直到1999年长篇小说《等待》的出版才有所改善。著名文学家厄普代克在《纽约客》撰文:写作完美,清醒的文本本身并不招人注意,但却能够呈现画面、人物和各种感官的感觉。明明写着压抑的情景,却还能带着喜剧、自然之美。他赞叹哈金的英语水平“几乎史无前例”。哈金自认为最花费力气的一部小说是2007年出版的《自由生活》,厄普代克对这本书表示出极度的失望,他认为当哈金脱离了中国背景,将故事设置在美国时,“哈式英语”就失去了魅力。厄普代克借用《自由生活》中主人公被讽刺的话来批评哈金:“你运用英语的方法太笨拙了。这对我作为一个以英语为母语的人来说,简直是一种侮辱。”
在课堂上,他不止一次提醒学生,写作是孤独的,终生孤独。哈金“最喜欢最喜欢”的事情就是陪太太逛街。他却依然用作家的眼睛观察、思考着琐碎的生活:女人们为什么愿意花那么多钱在名牌包上?为什么有些人喜欢Coach有些人喜欢Kate Spade?为什么很多中国人喜欢布满商标的包?哈金的老师尤金盛赞哈金身上有极为敏锐的生活观察力,他曾写信给哈金赞扬他的小说《疯狂》里的一个细节,“比如你写那个男人用牙签挑牙齿,你对平凡的细节有不平凡的感受。”
哈金认为“乡愁”是被媒体过度演绎出的概念,很多人都没有家,谈何“乡愁”?“大伙儿都觉得有这种(乡愁的)感觉,但是这其实不是对家的想念,是对我们本身对于生命中流失的东西挽不回来的遗憾。”他举例《我的安东尼亚》中父亲之所以会因为思念家乡而自杀,并不是乡愁而是语言困境,“这跟乡愁没有关系的,是他整个人的参照系统都没有了,这才是最大的恐惧。乡愁不是恐惧最大的原因。我有乡愁,但是我必须保持头脑清楚,我不知道我的家乡在哪儿。”
“《等待》一开始也被很多人批的嘛,就是英语系的一些教授,国内的⋯⋯因为你这个人是从边缘来的,你没有那个能力,你只能骗老美,你只能是诬蔑中国人,玩政治牌,你才能做这种事情。”《等待》是哈金第一部翻译到中国大陆的作品。13年前,导演陈可辛买下了电影版权,但涉及军婚,电影进入了漫长的等待。据哈金说,最初主演是周润发和巩俐,后来换成金城武和章子怡,现在已经到第三代的刘烨、周迅,电影还没有拍出来。
哈金说,自己过去喜欢去哈佛图书馆地下室翻看中国旧文献。“我被触动了,我那时候觉得我的工作就应该是这样简单:把历史翻译到文学里来,我觉得我的生命将用在写一本接一本关于中国的书上。但是当我这样那样做的时候,情况发生了变化。里面有一种很强烈的疏离感,也许是因为我用英语写中国的原因,但所有的背景都在中国。这把我放在了地狱的边界 — 陷在了两种文化和两种语言之间。这就是我想要解放我自己的原因之一。”
最初,哈金定位自己是移民作家,“为中国劳苦大众代言”。成名后,被部分国人质疑“如果你没有跟我们一起吃苦过,你就是在利用我们的遭遇获得个人利益”。后来他曾在公开场合表示,停止描写他已经离开的“当代中国”。“你不要有目标读者,”哈金告诉文学课上的学生,“这样才能写出永恒的作品。”他坦诚地谈到,“自己不再是附属于中国的物体了”。他从来没有停止对中国的关注:“在外面知道中国的事比在国内知道的多。”给中国一个朋友写信:‘我们自己的土地一定感到精疲力竭了吧’。只有土地本身是永恒的,上面的人啊,执政者啊,都是暂时的。”有读者提问哈金的“家”在哪里,哈金说,是美国,“空间上这里就是我的家,因为现在我住在这里。”另一层面,对于一个写作者,“写作就是我的家园。”
  • 《人物》

New Yorker的John Updick並沒有像報道中翻譯的那麼刻薄,原書評quote了許多弄巧成拙的英語表達,主人公對英語好壞的在意,這些擱置了故事本身的動力。「“Anxiously, Nan keeps seeking verdicts on his use of English: one consultant pronounces it “fluid, elegant, and slightly old-fashioned,” whereas another, an editor of a little magazine called Arrows, testily tells him, “The way you use the language is too clumsy. For a native speaker like myself, it almost amounts to an insult.” Unfortunately, the novel rarely gathers the kind of momentum that lets us overlook its language. The processes that Ha Jin is concerned to describe — survival and adjustment in an alien land, the firming-up of a literary vocation, the emergence of marital and family harmony after the shocks of transplantation — are incremental, breaking into many small chapters but yielding few dramatic crises.」

這個轉述的偏差本身又證明了中文世界的封閉。我很願意看到潛在的採訪對象是個顯而易見有缺陷的作家,我厭惡朝聖的感情,厭惡mystification,人們鼓吹五四以來中國作家的英語、“揚威海外”的程度,正像“The Boat Rocker”裡圍繞Yan Haili的包裝。

對我而言,我希望記錄一個在英語世界里粗重地換氣游泳的作家,苦惱的,有局限的,又敢於往前衝的。我希望知道他的生活和唐人街小社會的二手生活有什麼區別。什麼是他計較的地方,什麼是他學會鬆弛的地方,什麼是他在美國得到延展的地方。

Adding to the wonder of the novel’s prose was the fact that it had been written in English, a choice made, as Jin told interviewers, to free himself of the warping effects that Maoist structures and strictures had placed on his native tongue. Jin’s latest novel, “The Boat Rocker,” isn’t as elegantly crafted as “Waiting,” but it provides even more linguistic dexterity. Its cast features people of varying backgrounds whose speech patterns Jin captures in pitch-perfect dialogue, right down to the slang common to members of my own tribe, Homo academicus. (Katie, the girlfriend of the novel’s journalist narrator, Feng Danlin, is a professor of sociology.) Jin also reveals an added talent, previously hidden, for savage satire. Feng can be petty, vindictive and selfish but is redeemed by his courage: “Whenever a boat emerged loaded with lies and hypocrisy, whatever flag it flew, I would report it to the world.”
  • New York Times, “Ha Jin’s Latest Novel Shows Off His Funny Side”
In an interview with Powell’s Books, Ha Jin said that “the core of the immigrant experience” was “how to learn the language — or give up learning the language! — but without the absolute mastery of the language, which is impossible for an immigrant.” A striking typographical device conveys the inside and outside of the linguistic problem. Conversations in Mandarin are rendered in italicized English, and we observe Nan’s brain and tongue functioning at a sophisticated level.
Nan agrees: “Compared with written Chinese, English was indeed a language of common people, despite being hard to master, its grammatical rules too loose and its idioms defying logic.” Elsewhere, becoming a handy American householder, he thinks, “Now he loved hand tools — oh, the infinite varieties of American tools, each designed for one purpose, just like the vast English vocabulary, each word denoting precisely one thing or one idea.” This exacting language is “like a body of water in which he had to learn how to swim and breathe, even though he’d feel out of his element whenever he used it.”
  • New Yorker, “Nan, American Man”
I was in the People’s Liberation Army in the 1970s, and we soldiers had always been instructed that our principal task was to serve and protect the people. So when the Chinese military turned on the students in Tiananmen Square, it shocked me so much that for weeks I was in a daze. At the time, I was in the United States, finishing a dissertation in American literature. My plan was to go back to China once it was done. I had a teaching job waiting for me at Shandong University. After the crackdown, some friends assured me that the Communist Party would admit its mistake within a year. I couldn’t see why they were so optimistic. I also thought it would be foolish to wait passively for historical change. I had to find my own existence, separate from the state power in China.
That was when I started to think about staying in America and writing exclusively in English, even if China was my only subject, even if Chinese was my native tongue. It took me almost a year to decide to follow the road of Conrad and Nabokov and write in a language that was not my own. I knew I might fail. I was also aware that I was forgoing an opportunity: the Chinese language had been so polluted by revolutionary movements and political jargon that there was great room for improvement. Yet if I wrote in Chinese, my audience would be in China and I would therefore have to publish there and be at the mercy of its censorship. To preserve the integrity of my work, I had no choice but to write in English.
To some Chinese, my choice of English is a kind of betrayal. But loyalty is a two-way street. I feel I have been betrayed by China, which has suppressed its people and made artistic freedom unavailable. I have tried to write honestly about China and preserve its real history. As a result, most of my work cannot be published in China. I cannot leave behind June 4, 1989, the day that set me on this solitary path. The memory of the bloodshed still rankles, and working in this language has been a struggle. But I remind myself that both Conrad and Nabokov suffered intensely for choosing English — and that literature can transcend language. If my work is good and significant, it should be valuable to the Chinese.
  • Ha Jin, “Exiled to English”
Kim Philby, the notorious British spy who hid in plain sight as a K.G.B. agent for more than 30 years, once explained: “To betray, you must first belong. I never belonged.” Gary’s tragedy is that of most moles. He never belongs: not to America or China; not to his wives, mistress or children; not to the Chinese intelligence service or the C.I.A.; and not, in the end, to himself.
  • New York Times, “A Map of Betrayal by Ha Jin”
One suitcase and one duffel bag. Some clothing. A few books. One or two dictionaries. I haven’t returned. Never to mainland China. I’ve only been to Taiwan and Hong Kong. In the beginning, I was very eager to go back to see friends and family. I tried so hard. But for seven years I couldn’t get my passport renewed. I couldn’t travel outside of the States. Then I became a citizen, and I got jaded. Imagine your books are banned — you can go back but your books are not allowed. I wouldn’t feel comfortable accepting those terms.
I write about taboo subjects: Tibet, the Korean War, the Cultural Revolution, the Tiananmen Square incident. After the Tiananmen massacre I became very outspoken. The Crazed, A Free Life, War Trash — these books offend the authorities in China. I’ve never intended my writing to be political, but my characters exist in the fabric of politics. That is to say, it is impossible to avoid politics, especially in China. And of course, the Chinese authorities are afraid of truthful stories told from an individual’s point of view.
It’s also because I am a misfit. I’m too outspoken. I write in English, which is viewed as a betrayal of my mother tongue. I came to America. I don’t serve the party’s cause. To them, I’m a very negative example. No, there are no public readings there. Some book fairs have had authors read, but that’s recent — only in the past two or three years. There is a tradition of poets who would chant their poems, but for many years people couldn’t even express themselves that way. When I lived there, I never heard anybody read in public.
I’ve lived outside of China for years and have developed a personality that’s very open and outspoken. If I went back to China now I’d have to exercise caution constantly. I might develop a kind of mental fatigue. Mentally, psychologically, it would be very hard to return, harder even than physical hardship. Politically, China really is a true police state. Mail — everything — is checked. Phone calls are still tapped. For more than a decade, maybe fifteen years, I have not been able to send books to China. They were always intercepted by a government examiner. We used to send them under my wife’s name but now that doesn’t work either.
  • Ha Jin, an interview by Paris Review

M.

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