When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I managed to survive at all. It was, of course, a miserable childhood: the happy childhood is hardly worth your while. Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood.
剛剛檢收email的時候看到紐約時報的新聞快訊指出 Frank McCourt,也就是Angela's Ashes的作者過世的消息--
Breaking News Alert
The New York Times
Sunday, July 19, 2009 -- 6:42 PM ET
Frank McCourt, Author of 'Angela's Ashes,' Dies at 78
Frank McCourt, a former New York City schoolteacher who
turned his miserable childhood in Limerick, Ireland, into a
phenomenally popular, Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir,
"Angela's Ashes," died on Sunday, his publisher said.
的確,就像新聞所寫安琪拉的灰燼這本書描寫的是他悲慘的童年故事, 安琪拉是作者母親的名字. 不過雖然童年悲慘作者卻以幽默的方式來呈現, 毫無自憐自嘆的口吻,下面的簡短書摘裡有一個例子.
這本書其實是我真正閱讀的第一本英文小說(高中時候被指定閱讀的不算的話). 找出之前寫的,不算書評而必較像是紀錄的短文如下, 算是紀念這位作者.
本書也被拍成電影.因為對此書喜愛有佳,電影不但看了還買了原聲帶. 電影是少數由小說改拍後讓我暨喜愛書又可接受電影的少數特例之一(像是Abeautiful mind就是被我評為大爛片),誠心推薦給各位. 以下舊文重貼.
Angela's Ashes: A Memoir
by Frank McCourt
Publisher: Scribner; (May 25, 1999) ISBN: 068484267X
Angela's Ashes: A Memoir 電影「天使的小孩」的原著
from the book--
"When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I managed to survive at all. It was, of course, a miserable childhood: the happy childhood is hardly worth your while. Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood."
這是第一章第二段. 與其說要把他翻成中文,不如說是找到註解--所謂天之降大任於斯人也, 必先苦其心智, 勞其筋骨,空乏其身,行拂亂其所為.
就像男生當兵後喜歡談論兼誇耀當兵的時候有多操,愈被操的欲贏得尊敬,有些人也喜歡誇大悲慘的童年. 書中提到: “People everywhere brag and whimper about the woes of their early years, but nothing can compare with the Irish version: the poverty; the shiftless loquacious alcoholic father; the pious defeated mother moaning by the fire; pompous priests; bullying schoolmasters; the English and all the terrible things they did to us for 800 long years.”
This is the first English novel I read and I found it hard to put down the book till finish it. Frank certainly had a miserable childhood-- he endured poverty, near-starvation and the casual cruelty of relatives and neighbors -- yet lives to tell his tale with eloquence, exuberance and remarkable forgiveness. Bitter memoir it is, this book imbued on every page with Frank McCourt's astounding humor and compassion, this book is definitely a glorious book that bears all the marks of a classic.
(The author has another book "Tis" ,both books are about his childhood)
這本書的中譯本有三位譯者(余國芳 陳重亨 莊靜君), 在這種情況下我選擇了英文版,我很高興我選擇了英文本, 雖然沒有完整讀過中文本,但是我翻了幾頁發現有些修飾語在翻譯之後(也許是語言結構不同)完全失去了味道. 例如:
小孩子幼小的心靈不明白為何政府要懸賞(a head with price)父親這顆頭早已齒危髮禿的頭.... 無邪的小孩認為甜的東西和美的東西才是要用錢買的, 因此童年時他實在無法了解" who will pay for such a head", 讀到此我不禁莞爾一笑,然而我在中文本中卻找不到這種文字的妙用
我也看過由此書改拍的電影,甚至買了原聲帶, 故事感人, 而且我認為電影與書本相異處不大, 個人認為是部好電影
這本書在' 奇葩與怪傑' 一書中（Geeks，年齡21～34歲之間，怪傑Geezers，年齡70～82歲之間）被列為是最常被閱讀的書之一, 在此我真心推薦給各位
另外這本書的寫作方法深受Intel總裁Andy Grove所喜愛,在他的自傳中"橫渡生命湖"(Swimming Across: a Memoir)也是援用類似的寫作方式