【英语角】《爱无可忍》:因爱生怖

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来源/新东方英语(IDNOE_XDFYY

伊恩·麦克尤恩(Ian McEwan)是当代英国文坛最重要的小说家之一。他1948年出生于英格兰的奥尔德肖特,童年时随着在军队任职的父亲先后在亚洲、欧洲以及非洲生活过,大学攻读英国文学专业,毕业于萨塞克斯大学,后在东英吉利亚大学获得硕士学位。他凭借1975年出版的第一部短篇小说集《最初的爱情,最后的仪式》(First Love, Last Rites)在英国文坛一举成名,到目前为止已出版了13部长篇小说和两部短篇小说集。他的早期小说具有哥特式风格,以揭露社会的阴暗以及人性的邪恶为主;中后期的小说涉及的内容广泛,有着强烈的人文和社会关怀。他的代表作有《只爱陌生人》(The Comfort ofStrangers)、《爱无可忍》(Enduring Love)、《赎罪》(Atonement)、《星期六》(Saturday)等。



偏执的爱是一种对世界错位的认知,将现实变成了可怕的地狱
Excerpts1)

What were these badthoughts? One was a suspicion that in those realms of feeling that defy theresponsibility of logic, Clarissa considered Parry my fault. He was the kind ofphantom2) that only I could havecalled up, a spirit of my dislocated, incomplete character, or of what shefondly called my innocence. I had brought him upon us, and I was keeping himthere, even while I disowned him.


Clarissa said I waswrong or ridiculous to think this, but she did not say much else about her ownattitude. She had spoken about my own as we got dressed that morning. I wasdisturbed, she said. I was pulling on my boots and did not interrupt. She saidshe hated to see me back with that old obsession about “getting back intoscience” when I had such an enjoyable working life and was so good at what Idid. She was trying to help me, but I had become in the space of just a coupleof days so manic, so feverish in my attention to Parry, so … She had paused asecond to locate the word. She was standing in the doorway, hitching asilk-lined pleated3) skirt round herwaist. In morning light her pallor4)made her eyes appear all the greener. She was beautiful. She seemed unattainable5), an impressionintensified by the word she chose. “… Alone, Joe. You’re so alone in all this,even when you speak to me about it. I feel you’re shutting me out. There’ssomething you’re not telling me. You’re not speaking from the heart.”


I simply looked at her.Either I’ve always spoken to her from the heart in times like this, or I neverhave and I don’t know what it means. But that wasn’t what I was thinking. Mythought was one I used to have when I first knew her: How did such anoversized, average-looking lump like myself land6) this pale beauty? And a new bad thought: Was she beginningto think she had a poor deal7)?


She was about to leavethe room to go to the kitchen where, unknown to us, Parry’s letter was waiting.She misread my expression. Pleading with me rather than accusing me, she said,“I mean, the way you’re looking at me now. You’re making calculations that I’llnever know about. Some inner double-entry book-keeping that you think is thebest way to the truth. But don’t you see how it cuts you off8)?”


I knew it would not haveconvinced her to say, “I was only thinking how lovely you are and how I don’tdeserve you.” The fact that it wouldn’t made me think as I got to my feet thatperhaps she was the one who didn’t deserve me. There. Balance, double entry.She was right, and twice over, for I had said nothing, and she would neverknow. I smiled at her and said, “Let’s talk about it over breakfast.” But whatwe talked about was Parry’s letter, and we didn’t do that well.


After she had left,after I had cleared the table, I remained sitting in the kitchen with my lukewarm9) coffee, sliding Parry’spages back into their tight little envelope as though to contain the viral spores10) that were invading our home.More bad thoughts: It was a daydream really, but I had to let it run. Itoccurred to me that Clarissa was using Parry as a front11). It was strange after all, her reaction in this case. Sheseemed to be aggravating the difficulties by implicating12) me with Parry. What was the explanation? Was shebeginning to regret her life with me? Could she have met someone? If she wantedto leave me, she’d find it easier if she could convince herself that there wassomething between Parry and me. Had she met someone? At work? A colleague? Astudent? Could this be an exemplary13)case of unacknowledged self-persuasion?


I got to my feet.Self-persuasion was a concept much loved by evolutionary psychologists. I hadwritten a piece about it for an Australian magazine. It was pure armchair14) science, and it went likethis: If you lived in a group, as humans have always done, persuading others ofyour own needs and interests would be fundamental to your well-being. Sometimesyou had to use cunning15). Clearlyyou would be at your most convincing if you persuaded yourself first and didnot even have to pretend to believe what you were saying. The kind of self-deluding16) individuals who tended todo this flourished, as did their genes. So it was we squabbled and scrapped,for our unique intelligence was always at the service of our special pleadingand selective blindness to the weaknesses of our case.



《爱无可忍》可谓写尽了爱的疯癫。它是沾沾自喜的盲目,是“我爱你,与你无关”的百折不悔,是永不放手的誓言;它也是纠结的困惑,是畏缩的懦弱,是自我折磨的怀疑,是受了伤害不敢爱、无法爱的惶恐。爱是世间最美的情感,但也最易让人为幻象所迷惑,从而引发令人可怕的事件。



作品赏析

英国作家伊恩·麦克尤恩曾经一度在文坛有“恐怖伊恩”的名声。他的早期作品中充斥着令人毛骨悚然的暴力描写,下笔既细腻,又全无顾忌。进入20世纪90年代后,麦克尤恩的创作渐渐脱离了直白的哥特风格,而转向克制地揭示平凡生活的复杂肌理。然而,他对高潮以及恐怖的把控能力依然超群。《爱无可忍》的开篇就充分说明了这一点。小说拉开帷幕时,是风和日丽的一天。人们三三两两地坐在草地上休闲与野营。突然,一只载人热气球失控,带着一个十岁小男孩飞向天空。一群热心人听到了呼救声,纷纷向热气球跑去,大家七手八脚把气球拉住。可是还没等他们救出男孩,一阵大风刮过,气球飞速腾空,将五位挂在篮筐外的救援者一起带离了地面。随着气球越升越高,营救者面临两个选择:是救孩子,还是自保?出于本能,人们纷纷撒手,只有约翰·罗根没有这样做,于是他被热气球带上了三百英尺的高空。在大家紧张的注视中,他因无力攥住绳索而松手,坠落身亡。男孩倒是无恙,后来获救。


《爱无可忍》第一章从祥和的一天开始,情节却急转直下,最后以悲剧收场。参与援救的人们本想助人,却沦为杀死罗根的罪魁祸首。每个人都带着沉甸甸的负罪感回家,这其中就包括小说的主人公乔·罗斯。这样的开篇为小说订下了令人不安的基调。在以后的篇章中,因热气球事件所引发的连锁反应渐渐展示出在主人公乔·罗斯看似理性、幸福的生活,尤其是情感生活中,各种问题暗流涌动。


乔·罗斯是一位47岁的科普作家,他的女友克拉丽莎·莫伦是研究英国文学的学者。两人已经同居数年,感情稳定。热气球事件不仅给乔的内心添上重负,还让他结识了一个给他生活带来巨大变化的人——此次事故中跟他一起救人的28岁青年杰德·帕里。帕里患有“德·克莱拉鲍特综合征”,也就是“色情精神病”。帕里认为乔对自己一见钟情,于是写信骚扰乔,并对其进行跟踪。面对帕里的热情,乔先是感到莫名其妙,继而感到惊恐、畏惧。他一再拒绝帕里,这反而让帕里变本加厉,甚至发展到了买凶暗杀乔、绑架克拉丽莎以及举刀试图自杀的程度。随着帕里疯癫行为的升级,乔和克拉丽莎在如何对待帕里上产生了分歧,两人争吵不断,渐行渐远。


小说的英文标题叫做Enduring Love,上海译文出版社的中译本将其译为“爱无可忍”。而英文中,enduring一词含有“忍耐”与“持久”之意,因此,标题也可以译为“永恒的爱”。人人渴望永恒的爱,因为爱可以让人不再孤独。茫茫世界,找到真爱也就找到了温暖、光明和幸福。然而,爱又是这样一种会折磨人的感情:它会让人辗转反侧、偏执狂暴、疑神疑鬼。而爱的种种执念正是这部小说所关注的焦点。


爱的执念在帕里的身上体现得最为明显。他是“色情精神病”的患者。尽管在现实生活中,他和乔素昧平生,直到热气球事件发生他们一同救人时才相识,然而他认为乔对他情有独钟。乔越是拒绝他,他越认为这是因为乔言不由衷。他守候在乔的窗外,就连窗帘的微微晃动也会被他看作是乔正站在帘后默默注视着他。在小说结尾,哪怕他被送入精神病院,他还在坚持每天给乔写信,表达不悔的深情:“我在日渐一日地争取我们的幸福,就算是要花上一辈子的时间我也在所不惜。”对帕里来说,他对乔的感情不涉及情欲,有着信仰的高度。这本是爱情的至高境界,可是麦克尤恩却告诉我们,这种没有回应的爱所恋的是虚幻,当事者为之神魂颠倒,但在旁观者看来这却是可怕的疯癫。


同样的偏执也可以乔的身上看到。乔刚出场时,是典型的成功人士形象。他是知名科普作家,为人温和,彬彬有礼,有一位相貌与才华都很出众的女友。乔的形象与没有工作、没有爱人的帕里形成了鲜明对比。可是,在热气球事件带来的负罪感和帕里穷追不舍的双重压力下,他内心的不安渐渐浮现出来。我们看到了他受挫的理想:他曾想成为一名科学家,不得已成了科普作家。我们看到了他的不自信:他不再年少,也不算英俊,为什么克拉丽莎会爱他?对于帕里的出现,克拉丽莎没有给乔足够信任,反而对他的处事方式颇多苛责,她不相信帕里对乔的炽烈情感,觉得只是乔的一种臆断。于是,乔的不自信慢慢发酵为怀疑与嫉妒。他开始担心克拉丽莎有出轨的可能,为此偷偷查看她的私人通信,进而被克拉丽莎发现,两个人彻底吵翻。他爱克拉丽莎,然而因所得,患所失,反而衍生出一系列不可理喻的偏执。


在《爱无可忍》中,麦克尤恩不仅写出了帕里式的罔顾现实的偏执、乔式的懦弱的偏执,也写出了罗根的妻子琼的自我折磨的偏执。罗根为救人而牺牲,在他去世后,乔决定去罗根家里拜访,告诉罗根的妻子她的丈夫是多么高尚的人。可是他发现琼之所以憔悴不堪,不是因为痛失所爱,而是怀疑丈夫出轨。罗根去世后,琼在他的车里发现了一只野餐篮,还有一条散发着女性香水味道的丝巾。罗根的妻子猜测自己的丈夫应该是有了外遇,事故当天,他正载着年轻的情人去野营,罗根去救人是为了在情人面前展示自己的勇气,结果却白白送了命。小说结尾,我们发现事实真相是,当天曾有一对因忘年恋而偷情的男女因为车子半途抛锚,搭了罗根的便车。罗根慷慨地载了他们一程,他们却怕事后私情暴露,匆匆溜走。琼得知这一切,追悔莫及。她背叛了爱的信任,选择了爱的狭隘,这是多么可怜、可笑、可悲。


偏执的爱是一种对世界错位的认知,将现实变成了可怕的地狱。在琼的想象里,她那舍身救人的丈夫罗根可能是个道德败坏的出轨者。在乔的眼中,克拉丽莎太自我,没有真正关心过自己。在克拉丽莎的眼中,乔自从热气球事件后就开始疑神疑鬼,自行其是。帕里则自始至终沉浸在自己的幻想所编织的疯狂小宇宙中。小说《爱无可忍》可谓写尽了爱的疯癫。它是沾沾自喜的盲目,是“我爱你,与你无关”的百折不悔,是永不放手的誓言;它也是纠结的困惑,是畏缩的懦弱,是自我折磨的怀疑,是受了伤害不敢爱、无法爱的惶恐。爱是世间最美的情感,但也最易让人为幻象所迷惑,从而引发令人可怕的事件。


  1. 节选部分选自小说的第12章,主要描写了主人公乔(Joe)与女友克拉丽莎(Clarissa)清晨谈话的情景。这些描写表明两人之间的关系因“色情精神病”患者帕里(Parry)的介入发生了微妙的变化。

  2. phantom[ˈfæntəm]n. 幽灵;幻影

  3. pleated[ˈpliːtɪd] adj. 起褶的

  4. pallor[ˈpælə(r)]n. 苍白(尤指脸色)

  5. unattainable [ˌʌnəˈteɪnəb(ə)l] adj. 无法达到的;高不可攀的

  6. land[lænd]vt. (尤指轻而易举或意外地)获得,得到,赢得

  7. poordeal:不公的待遇

  8. cutoff:使分离;使隔绝

  9. lukewarm[ˌluːkˈwɔː(r)m]adj. (尤指液体)温吞的,微热的

  10. spore[spɔː(r)]n. [生物]孢子

  11. front[frʌnt]n. 幌子

  12. implicate[ˈɪmplɪkeɪt]vt. 使卷入;涉及,牵连

  13. exemplary[ɪɡˈzempləri]adj. 典范的;典型的

  14. armchair[ˈɑː(r)mˌt(r)(r)]n. 无实际经验的;不切实际的;空谈的

  15. cunning[ˈkʌnɪŋ]n. 狡诈;狡猾

  16. delude[dɪˈluːd]vt.欺骗,蒙骗


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