鹿城读笔(十九)

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HIROSHIMA, by John Hersey

早在翻开本书之时就已名声在外的约翰·赫西的名篇《广岛》,读完由衷地折服,这实在是新闻写作的极致了。不过,像广岛核爆这样的事件,在泱泱历史中,又会能有几次;由于电脑上仍是纽约时间,一个小时的时差让我读到中间的时候甚至产生了时钟在倒转的幻觉;笔锋收尾的最后三页,完美到我甚至想要全部将它们摘抄在这里(当然最终只节了三段),我想到了柴静《看见》中讲双城的那篇,我想到了《一一》的结尾,当然全文阅读的过程中我脑海里也总是会浮现出《广岛之恋》里的黑白影像,以及阿伦·雷奈的另一部反战杰作《夜与雾》。

  • A hundred thousand people were killed by the atomic bomb, and these six were among the survivors. They still wonder why they lived when so many others died. Each of them counts many small items of chance or volition — a step taken in time, a decision to go indoors, catching one streetcar instead of the next — that spared him. And now each knows that in the act of survival he lived a dozen lives  and saw more death than he ever thought he would see. At the time, none of them knew anything.
  • At fifty, he was healthy, convivial, and calm, and he was pleased to pass the evenings drinking whiskey with friends, always sensibly and for the sake of conversation. Before the war, he had affected brands imported from Scotland and America; now he was perfectly satisfied with the best Japanese brand, Suntory.
  • He had slept uneasily all night and had wakened an hour earlier than usual, and, feeling sluggish and slightly feverish, had debated whether to go to the hospital at all; his sense of duty finally forced him to go, and he had started out on an earlier train than he took most mornings.
  • While fetching the cloth, she noticed her sewing machine; she went back in for it and dragged it out. Obviously, she could not carry it with her, so she unthinkingly plunged her symbol of livelihood into the receptacle which for weeks had been her symbol of safety — the cement tank of water in front of her house, of the type every household had been ordered to construct against a possible fire raid.
  • Tugged here and there in his stockinged feet, bewildered by the numbers, staggered by so much raw flesh, Dr. Sasaki lost all sense of profession and stopped working as a skillful surgeon and s sympathetic man; he became an automaton, mechanically wiping, daubing, winding, wiping, daubing, winding.
  • When he picked himself up, he saw Mr. Fukai running away. Father Kleinsorge shouted to a dozen soldiers, who were standing by the bridge, to stop him … … So Father Kleinsorge just requested the soldiers to take care of Mr. Fukai. They said they would, but the little, broken man got away from them, and the last the priests could see of him, he was running back toward the fire.
  • The team fought the fire for more than two hours, and gradually defeated the flames. As Mr. Tanimoto’s men worked, the frightened people in the park pressed closer and closer to the river, and finally the mob began to force some of the unfortunates who were on the very bank into the water. Among those driven into the water and drowned were Mrs. Matsumoto, of the Methodist School, and her daughter.
  • Mr. Tanimoto had seen during the day, he surmised that the barracks had been badly damaged by whatever it was that had hit Hiroshima. He knew he hadn’t a chance of finding Mrs. Kamai’s husband, even if he searched, but he wanted to humor her. “I’ll try,” he said.
  • Mr. Tanimoto found about twenty men and women on the sandpit. He drove the boat onto the bank and urged them to get aboard. They did not move and he realized that they were too weak to lift themselves. He reached down and took a woman by the hands, but her skin slipped off in huge, glove-like pieces. He was so sickened by this that he had to sit down for a moment. Then he got out into the water, and though a small man, lifted several of the men and women, who were naked, into his boat.
  • Dr. Sasaki had not looked outside the hospital all day; the scene inside was so terrible and so compelling that it had not occurred to him to ask any questions about what had happened beyond the windows and doors … … Early in the day, he thought for the first time of his mother at their country home in Mukaihara, thirty miles from town. He usually went home every night. He was afraid she would think he was dead.
  • “That may be right from a medical standpoint — ” Mr. Tanimoto began, but then he looked out across the field, where the many dead lay close and intimate with those who were still living, and he turned away without finishing his sentence, angry now with himself. He didn’t know what to do; he had promised some of the dying people in the park that he would bring them medical aid. They might die feeling cheated.
  • A little before noon, he saw a Japanese woman handing something out. Soon she came to him and said in a kindly voice, “These are tea leaves. Chew them, young man, and you won’t feel thirsty.” The woman’s gentleness mad Father Kleinsorge suddenly want to cry. For weeks, he had been feeling oppressed by the hatred of foreigners that the Japanese seemed increasingly to show, and he had been uneasy even with his Japanese friends.
  • Once, he tried to suggest that perhaps it was time to cremate the baby, but Mrs. Kamai only held it tighter. He began to keep away from her, but whenever he looked at her, she was staring at him and her eyes asked the same question. He tried to escape her glance by keeping his back turned to her as much as possible.
  • He put riddles to them. He asked, “What is the cleverest animal in the world?”, and after the thirteen-year-old girl had guessed the ape, the elephant, the horse, he said,” No, it must be the hippopotamus,” because in Japanese that animal is kaba, the reverse of baka, stupid. He told Bible stories, beginning, in the order of things, with the Creation. He showed them a scrapbook of snapshots taken in Europe. Nevertheless, they cried most of the time for their mother.
  • A doctor who did not know much about these strange manifestations — Father Kleinsorge was one of a handful of atomic patients who had reached Tokyo — came to see him, and to the patient’s face he was most encouraging. “You’ll be out of here in two weeks,” he said. But when the doctor got out in the corridor, he said to the Mother Superior, “He’ll die. All these bomb people die — you’ll see. They go along for a couple of weeks and then they die.”
  • One day, the young man who had lent her his translation of de Maupassant at Hatsukaichi came to visit her; he told her that he was going to Kyushu but that when he came back, he would like to see her again. She didn’t care. Her leg had been so swollen and painful all along that the doctor had not even tried to set the fractures, and though an X-ray taken in November showed that the bones were mending, she could see under the sheet that her left leg was nearly three inches shorter than her right and that her left foot was turning inward. She thought often of the man to whom she had been engaged. Someone told her he was back from overseas. She wondered what he had heard about her injuries that made him stay away.
  • Father Kleinsorge was finding it hard, as Dr. Fujii had suggested he would, to be cautious and to take his naps. He went out every day on foot to call on Japanese Catholics and prospective converts. As the months went by, he grew more and more tired. In June, he read an article in the Hiroshima Chugoku warning survivors against working too hard — but what could he do?
  • A year after the bomb was dropped, Miss Sasaki was a cripple; Mrs. Nakamura was destitute; Father Kleinsorge was back in the hospital; Dr. Sasaki was not capable of the work he once could do; Dr. Fujii had lost the thirty-room hospital it took him many years to acquire, and had no prospects of rebuilding it; Mr. Tanimoto’s church had been ruined and he no longer had his exceptional vitality. The lives of these six people, who were among the luckiest in Hiroshima, would never be the same. Whet they thought of their experiences and of the use of the atomic bomb was, of course, not unanimous. One feeling they did seem to share, however, was a curious kind of elated community spirit, something like that of the Londoners after their blitz — a pride in the way they and their fellow-survivors had stood up to a dreadful ordeal.
  • A surprising number of the people of Hiroshima remained more or less indifferent about the ethics of using the bomb. Possibly they were too terrified by it to want to think about it at all. Not many of them even bothered to find out much what it was like. Mrs. Nakamura’s conception of it — and awe of it — was typical. “The atom bomb,” she would say when asked about it, “is the size of a matchbox. The heat of it was six thousand times that of the sun. It exploded in the air. There is some radium in it. I don’t know just how it works, but when the radium is put together, it explodes.” As for the use of the bomb, she would say, “It was war and we had to expect it.” And then she would add, “Shikata ga nai,” a Japanese expression as common as, and corresponding to, the Russian word “nichevo“: “It can’t be helped. Oh, well. Too bad.” Dr. Fujii said approximately the same thing about the use of the bomb to Father Kleinsorge one evening, in German: “Da ist nicht zu machen. There’s nothing to be done about it.”
  • It would be impossible to say what horrors were embedded in the minds of the children who lived through the day of the bombing in Hiroshima. On the surface their recollections, months after disaster, were of an exhilarating adventure. Toshio Nakamura, who was ten at the time of the bombing, was soon able to talk freely, even gaily, about the experience, and a few weeks before the anniversary he wrote the following matter-of-fact essay for his teacher at Nobori-cho Primary School: “The day before the bomb, I went for a swim. In the morning, I was eating peanuts. I saw a light. I was knocked to little sister’s sleeping place. When we were saved, I could only see as far as the tram. My mother and I started to pack our things. The neighbors were walking around burned and bleeding. Hataya-san told me to run away with her. I said I wanted to wait for my mother. We went to the park. A whirlwind came. At night a gas tank burned and I saw the reflection in the river. We stayed in the park one night. Next day I went to Taiko Bridge and met my girl friends Kikuki and Murakami. They were looking for their mothers. But Kukuki’s mother was wounded and Murakami’s mother, alas, was dead.”

volition: 意志; reconnaissance: 承认; rayon: 射线; dugout: 味道; prefecture: 府; allotment: 配股; convivial: 用户友好; frail: 脆弱; miasma: 瘴气; receptacle: 容器; lieu: 地方; scorch: 烧焦; destitute: 贫困; alas: 唉


PART TWO: AMERICAN SCENES

A NOTE BY JILL LEPORE

吉尔·雷波尔的一篇序语,她也是哈佛大学的历史系教授,文章没有什么特别出彩的地方。值得一提的是,2012年被爆出的著名主持人扎卡里亚剽窃事件,被抄的就是吉尔·雷波尔在《纽约客》上的文章。

  • The war changed The New Yorker by making it more accountable to world affairs, but also by making it differently accountable to what was happening in the United States, including places like a singularity hideous courthouse in South Carolina.

NOTES AND COMMENT, by E.B.White

E.B.怀特略带有炫技效果地回答了 Writer’s War Board“什么是民主”这一问题。

  • Democracy is the score at the beginning of the ninth. It is an idea which hasn’t been disproved yet, a song the words of which have not gone bad. It’s the mustard on the hot dog and the cream in the rationed coffee. Democracy is a request from a War Board, in the middle of a morning in the middle of a war, wanting to know what democracy is.

THE OLD HOUSE AT HOME, by Joseph Mitchell

约瑟夫·米切尔这篇关于麦克索利酒吧(纽约最古老的爱尔兰酒吧)风物志十分精彩,他擅于长篇大段地细致刻画,笔下的人物诙谐生动,栩栩如生;从主讲二战的第一章走出,来到圣马克地带的这家十分接地气的酒馆里,“美国风情”为主题的第二章扑鼻而来;这家酒吧一直很有名,出现在不少绘画中,也成为了很多电影的取景地。

  • Sometimes, in the afternoon, if the weather was good, he would shuffle into the bar, a sallow, disenchanted old man, and sit in the Peter Cooper chair with his knotty hands limp in his lap. Four hours he would sit and stare at the painting of Old John. The customers were sure he was getting ready to die, but when he came in they would say, “You looking chipper today, Billy boy,” or something like that.
  • Technically, Kelly is a truck-driver, but he always says business is slow in his line. Once, for a brief period, he took a job as night clerk in a funeral parlor in Brooklyn, quitting because a corpse spoke to him. “This dead guy told me to take my had off indoors,” Kelly says. In one way or another, death pops up repeatedly in Kelly’s talk. Each morning, Mullins, the bartender, asks him how he feels. If he doesn’t feel so good, he says, “I’m dead, but I just won’t lie still.”
  • Kelly likes the Sloan painting but prefers a golden, corpulent nude which Old John hung in the back room many years ago, right beside Peter Cooper’s portrait. To a stranger, attracted to the saloon by a Sloan painting, Kelly will say, “Hey, Mac, if you want to see some real art, go look at the naked lady in the back room.” The nude is stretched out on a couch and is playing with a parrot; the painting is a copy, probably done by a Cooper Union student, of Gustave Courbet’s La Femme au Perroquet. Kelly always translates this for strangers. “It’s French,” he says learnedly. “It means ‘Duh Goil and duh Polly.'”
  • The fare in McSorley’s is plain, cheap, and well cooked. Mike’s specialties are goulash, frankfurters and sauerkraut, and hamburgers blanketed with fried onions. He scribbles his menu in chalk on a slate which hangs in the barroom and consistently misspells four dishes out of five … … Mike refers to food as “she.” For example, if a customer complains that the goulash is not as good as it was last Wednesday, he says, “No matter how not as good she is, she’s good enough for you.”

OPERA IN GREENVILLE, by Rebecca West

如果说约瑟夫·米切尔让人有些欲罢不能的是他绵长到难以切割(做摘抄和读书笔记之用)的大段描写的话,丽贝卡·韦斯特则落笔更加精准,锐利,直接,她在本篇里的开头,寥寥几段就把南方小镇格林维尔生动地刻画了出来;然而读着读着你会发现这篇法庭纪实是非常沉重的,四十年代,南方,种族主义,南北对抗等冰冰冷的事实摆在你眼前;丽贝卡·韦斯特也是纽伦堡大审判封面文章的作者,该篇收录在本书第三章中。

  • Greenville was as hot as the cities that lie on the Spanish plains, as Seville and Cordoba. But in those cities the people do not live a modern life, they do not work too grimly, and they sleep in the afternoons; here they keep the same commercial hours as in New York, and practice the hard efficiency that is the price this age asks for money.
  • Behind the defendants and their families sat something under two hundred of such white citizens of Greenville as could find the time to attend the trial, which was held during working hours. Some were drawn from the men of the town who are too old or too sick to work, or who do not enjoy work and use Court House as a club, sitting on the steps, chewing and smoking and looking down on Main Street through the hot, dancing air, when the weather is right for that, and going inside when it is better there. They were joined by a certain number of men and women who did not like the idea of people being taken out of jail and murdered, and by others who liked the idea quite well.
  • The jury entered. One juror was smiling; one was looking desperately ashamed; the others looked stolid and secretive, as they had done all through the trial. They handed slips on which they had recorded their verdicts to the clerk of the court, who handed them to the Judge. He read them through himself, and a flush spread over his face.
  • There could not be no more pathetic scene than these taxi-drivers and their wives, the deprived children of difficult history, who were rejoicing at a salvation that was actually a deliverance to danger. They had been saved from the electric chair and from prison by men who had conducted their defense without taking a minute off to state or imply that even if a man is a murderer one must not murder him and that murder is foul.

clarinet: 单簧管; cleave: 劈开; motley: 杂色; surly: 阴沉; tenement: 房屋; memorabilia: 大事记; pewter: 锡; snicker: 暗笑; gamy: 荤腥气; epithet: 称号; learnedly: 博学; rickety: 摇摇晃晃; goulash: 炖牛肉; sauerkraut: 酸菜; barnacle: 藤壶; lynching: 私刑; mutilated: 肢解; stolid: 慢性子; deliverance: 救出

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