“婚姻中,你们彼此成长”:访苔莎·哈德利
‘In a Marriage, You Grow Around Each Other’: An Interview with Tessa Hadley
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2021-04-01 22:23
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火星译客

Tessa Hadley is a late-bloomer in UK fiction, despite having wanted to be a writer since she was a child. “It chose me rather than me choosing it,” she says about writing. Hadley published her first novel at the age of 46. Since then, she's been an unstoppable force, publishing five additional novels, two short story collections, and contributing regularly to The New Yorker. Her new novel, Late in the Day, delves into the institution of marriage, particularly long marriages. She explores how couples grow around each other, like trees, and how the sudden death of a partner can send life into a tailspin.

泰莎·哈德利是英国小说界的一位晚熟作家,尽管她从小就想成为一名作家。“它选择了我,而不是我选择它,”她谈到写作时说。哈德利在46岁时出版了她的第一部小说。从那以后,她一直是一支势不可挡的力量,出版了另外五部小说,两部短篇小说集,并定期为《纽约客》撰稿。她的新小说《深夜》深入探讨了婚姻制度,尤其是长期婚姻。她探索了夫妻如何像树一样在彼此周围生长,以及伴侣的突然死亡如何让生活陷入困境。

Hadley's writing centers around middle-class families, mainly from the perspective of women. She focuses on the smaller things in life: family, relationships, children, and the internal struggle to become oneself. Her short stories have been compared to those of Alice Munro: author Anne Enright calls them “two writers who would rather be wise than nice.”

哈德利的写作以中产阶级家庭为中心,主要从女性的角度出发。她关注生活中的小事:家庭、人际关系、孩子,以及成为自己的内心挣扎。她的短篇小说被比作 爱丽丝·蒙罗的短篇小说:作家安妮·恩赖特称之为“两个宁愿聪明也不愿善良的作家”

Hadley is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and has either won or been shortlisted for many prestigious writing prizes. She won the O. Henry Prize for her short stories “The Card Trick” (2005) and “Valentine” (2014), and she was on the Orange Prize short story longlist twice (2008: “The Master Bedroom,” and 2011: “The London Train”). She also won the Windham-Campbell Literature Prize in 2016 for her novel The Past.

哈德利是英国皇家文学学会会员,曾获得或入围许多著名的写作奖。她凭借短篇小说《纸牌戏法》(2005年)和《情人节》(2014年)获得了欧亨利奖,并两次登上了橙色短篇小说奖的长片榜(2008年:《主卧室》,2011年:《伦敦火车》)。她还凭借小说《过去》获得了2016年温德姆坎贝尔文学奖。

We spoke a week before Christmas, successfully connecting with each other across the eight-hour time difference between her home in London and mine on the Canadian west coast. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

我们在圣诞节前一周谈了话,成功地通过她在伦敦的家和我在加拿大西海岸的家之间8小时的时差联系上了彼此。为了篇幅和清晰起见,这次采访经过了编辑。

Sarah Boon: You did your Masters in creative writing (which I'll call an MFA for our North American audience) when you were 38, you received your PhD in English in your early 40s (1998), and you became a professor at the University of Bath in 1997?

莎拉·布恩:你是在38岁时取得了创造性写作硕士学位(我称之为北美观众的文学硕士学位),在40岁出头(1998年)获得了英语博士学位,并在1997年成为巴斯大学的教授?

Tessa Hadley: Yes, that's right.

泰莎·哈德利:是的,没错。

Would it be correct to say that you've always wanted to be a writer?

说你一直想成为一名作家是对的吗?

Yes, it would be really, from when I was quite a little girl. It chose me rather than me choosing it. I can remember being a voracious reader from quite early in my childhood, as soon as I could. And I quite early on thought, “Well, I could do this too, I could write a book that isn't written yet.” The flavor of that is in my memory. So I did always want to do it.

是的,那是真的,从我还是个小女孩的时候起。它选择了我而不是我选择它。我还记得,在我童年的时候,我是一个贪婪的读者。我很早就想,“好吧,我也可以这么做,我可以写一本还没写完的书。”那种味道在我的记忆中。所以我一直都想这么做。

That sounds remarkably familiar — I was the same way.

听起来非常熟悉-我也是这样。

I'd say there are lots of us! [laughter]

我得说我们有很多人![笑声]

Yes, and many of us think “oh, we can just do it.”

是的,我们中的许多人都认为“哦,我们可以做到。”

Why wouldn't you, if you love the books that you read? It's sort of a natural extension of that. You think, “I could do this in words, too.” I wonder if it's more common with writing than it is with painting. I reckon there might be more people who just love painting but don't think, “I wish I could paint, I must try, I want to be a painter.”

如果你喜欢你读的书,你为什么不呢?这是一种自然的延伸。你会想,“我也可以用文字来表达。”我不知道写作比绘画更常见。我想可能会有更多的人只是喜欢绘画,但不会想,“我希望我能画画,我必须尝试,我想成为一名画家。”

I think painting is a bit more difficult in a way, because you have to get an image out of your head and onto the canvas.

我认为绘画在某种程度上有点困难,因为你必须把一个图像从你的脑袋里拿出来放到画布上。

Do you not think that's true of writing? I would describe that actually as being part of what you have to do: you have to get the shorthand words out of your head and make something that is not obvious and not inevitable as a brush stroke on a canvas.

你不认为写作是这样吗?我会把这描述为你必须做的一部分:你必须把速记词从你的头脑中拿出来,做一些不明显也不不可避免的事情,就像在画布上画笔一样。

That makes me wonder why people don't take up painting, but they take up writing instead.

这让我想知道为什么人们不从事绘画,而是从事写作。

I suspect it is what you said, that people think: “I can speak, I can read words, I can use words, I'm using them all the time, so why wouldn't I be able to write?” Then the actual business of making the writing work on the page is as strange in a way as making strokes work on a canvas but, in the first enthusiasm, it doesn't seem like such a strange or odd or sideways thing to do, it feels more ordinary. But then it turns out not to be ordinary.

我怀疑是你说的,人们认为:“我会说话,我会读单词,我会使用单词,我一直在使用它们,那么为什么我不能写作呢?“那么,在页面上创作作品的实际业务在某种程度上就像在画布上创作笔画一样奇怪,但是,在最初的热情中,它看起来不像是一件奇怪的、奇怪的或横向的事情,它感觉更普通。但事实证明,这并不寻常。

It took me so long to do anything that anyone could possibly have wanted to read, because I was doing it all by myself. I did have one or two friends who read what I wrote, but it was too furtive and too secretive. You need an audience.

我花了很长时间才做了任何可能有人想读的东西,因为我是一个人做的。我确实有一两个朋友读过我写的东西,但太隐秘了。你需要一个听众。

I've just been reading a book by Gary Paulsen about a high school student who discovers meditation and mindfulness. As part of this, he tries his hand at writing and realizes that instead of writing about a person directly, he must write about the shape of that person. The things beyond the person that represent them, not the person themselves.

我刚刚读了加里·保尔森写的一本书,讲的是一个高中生发现冥想和正念的故事。作为其中的一部分,他尝试着写作,并意识到与其直接写一个人,不如写一个人的外形。事物超越了代表它们的人,而不是人本身。

When I think about how students might write the physicality of somebody, it feels as if you are not doing anything like what a CCTV camera might do. It is a little bit like what you've just said: you describe the shape around the person and then somewhere between the words, in the middle of them — if you make the right words and put them in the right place — the person, their physical self and no doubt their personality as well, comes about in that space that you've created.

当我想到学生们可能会怎样写一个人的身体特征时,我感觉你并没有做任何像闭路电视摄像机可能做的事情。它有点像你刚刚说:你描述人的形状,然后单词之间的某个地方,在他们中间,如果你做出正确的单词和把它们放在正确的地方——的人,毫无疑问他们的身体自我和他们的个性,在这个空间,您已经创建了。

You mentioned in a previous interview that one of your goals in doing an MFA was to join the conversation about writing — both your own writing and others. Do you think it's essential for people to do an MFA if they want to be a writer?

你在之前的采访中提到,你攻读美术硕士的目标之一是加入关于写作的对话——包括你自己的写作和别人的写作。你认为如果人们想成为一名作家,获得艺术硕士学位有必要吗?

No. Not at all. Every writer finds their own way through. But I do think most writers, especially fiction writers — no, I think poets easily as much — need a community of writers. It's a funny old thing to do it all by yourself, which I think is why it took me so long to do anything that anyone could possibly have wanted to read, because I was doing it all by myself. I did have one or two friends who read what I wrote, but it was too furtive and too secretive. You need an audience.

不。不客气。每个作家都有自己的方式。但我确实认为大多数作家,尤其是小说家——不,我认为诗人也很容易——需要一个作家群体。一个人做这些事是件很有趣的事,我想这就是为什么我花了这么长时间去做那些任何人都可能想看的事,因为我都是一个人做的。我确实有一两个朋友读过我写的东西,但太偷偷摸摸了。你需要观众。

You know, Jane Austen wrote for her family and made them laugh. You could feel it in her sentences, she wants to make them laugh because she's going to be reading it out loud to them. So how will she be most entertaining? You can feel that pressure, in a good sense, on her sentences. Or, you know, 18th century poets writing to entertain their friends in the café where they met. I think of all writers, it's odd to find the true loner. People whom you might immediately think were candidates for that, like Kafka — no, it turns out he had a circle of friends and he was reading his stuff to them.

简·奥斯汀为她的家人写作,让他们开怀大笑。你可以从她的句子中感觉到,她想让他们笑,因为她会大声读给他们听。那么她怎样才能最有娱乐性呢?你可以从她的句子中感受到这种压力。或者,你知道,18世纪的诗人写诗来招待他们的朋友在café他们相遇的地方。我认为所有作家,找到真正孤独的人都很奇怪。你可能马上就会想到的人,比如卡夫卡——不,事实证明他有一群朋友,他把自己的作品读给他们听。

In other words, the MFA is just our contemporary form, a little bit more institutionalized, but it's essentially providing a forum for writers to experiment and lose their nervousness and preciousness about sharing their work.

换言之,MFA只是我们当代的形式,更制度化一点,但它本质上是为作家提供了一个实验的论坛,让他们失去分享作品的紧张和珍贵。

What made you decide to do a PhD in English after your MFA?

是什么让你在获得硕士学位后决定攻读英语博士学位的?

Because before I did my MFA I'd been a mum, and I'd been writing secretly, if you like, and I'd also done a tiny bit of teaching of literature, evening classes and such things. And I just so loved coming into the community inside the university when I did my MFA. By the end of it, I knew that I was writing much better, but I still wasn't confident that I would get published or even really write anything that was good enough. I thought to myself, “I'm going to have a very miserable life if I just go on doing this and failing. And is there any possible way round that?” And I thought there's this other thing, and it's the only other thing I'm good at, and I find it quite easy compared to writing my own fiction, which is being a critic. I've always loved that, and it's always come naturally to me. I was always confident about my judgments and my critical writing, that's odd, but I always was. Whereas that's absolutely not true, not true at all, about my own fiction and writing.

因为在我读文学硕士之前,我是一个母亲,我一直在秘密写作,如果你愿意的话,我还教过一点文学,夜校之类的东西。我非常喜欢进入大学里的社区,当我读硕士学位的时候。到了最后,我知道我写得更好了,但我仍然没有信心我会出版,甚至真的写任何足够好的东西。我心想,“如果我继续这样做,失败了,我的生活会很悲惨。有什么可能的办法吗?“我还以为还有另外一件事,这是我唯一擅长的另一件事,我发现这比我自己写小说,也就是做一个评论家要容易得多。我一直都很喜欢这个,而且总是很自然地。我总是对自己的判断和批判性写作充满信心,这很奇怪,但我一直都是。而这绝对不是真的,完全不是真的,关于我自己的小说和写作。

You started with writing short stories, from what I understand, and then you published your first novel at 46, which gives me a lot of hope as I'm 41 and working on my first non-fiction book. The book you published in 2002 was written while you were bringing up your family, so this was actually a book that you'd written some years before, then.

你从写短篇小说开始,据我所知,然后你在46岁出版了你的第一本小说,这给了我很大的希望,因为我41岁,正在写我的第一本非小说类的书。你在2002年出版的那本书是你抚养家庭时写的,所以这本书实际上是你几年前写的。

Oh no, it wasn't, it was written in the very late 90s, after my MFA, and accepted in 2000. It wasn't written before, not at all. It's a time I now cannot imagine: I had a new job teaching full time at the university, I had my little boy who was six or seven, my two other boys were teenagers. How did I do all that, while I was also finishing writing my PhD?And I couldn't conceivably do all that now — I'm really by nature very indolent. Not that energetic. [laughter]

哦,不,不是,它是在90年代末,在我的MFA之后写的,2000年被录取。以前没有写过,一点也没有。现在是我无法想象的时候了:我在大学里有一份全职的新工作,我有个六、七岁的小男孩,另外两个男孩是十几岁。我是怎么做到的,同时我也在写博士学位?我现在不能想象所有这些——我真的很懒散。没那么精力充沛。[笑声]

It was as if I just saw my way to it, and it suddenly seemed — not ever easy — but I knew how it should sound, what my voice should be, who I was, what my material was, and it felt inevitable and deliciously exciting. I felt in charge and authoritative in some way that I had never felt in all the novels I'd tried to write before, that were all phoney. They were all other people's books that I was hoping to be able to write on behalf of other authors, and I was always tentative, thinking what should it be, and what should they say, and how would it unfold. And suddenly, however small it was, I thought “But I know about this.” That was a lovely moment. I think I'd already experienced it in a few short stories before I was able to put that into a novel.

就好像我已经找到了通往成功的路,突然间似乎——这并不容易——但我知道这听起来应该是怎样的,我的声音应该是什么样的,我是谁,我的素材是什么,这让我不可避免地感到美妙的兴奋。我觉得自己很有主见,很有权威,这是我以前写过的小说里从未有过的感觉,那都是骗人的。这些都是我希望能够代表其他作者写的其他人的书,我总是试探性地思考,应该写些什么,他们应该说些什么,以及会如何展开。突然间,不管它有多小,我想“但我知道这个。“那是一个美好的时刻。我想在我能够把它写进小说之前,我已经在几个短篇小说中经历过了。

And actually, that first novel, Accidents in the Home, is constructed as if it was a succession of short stories. That was another useful key, when I thought, “I don't know what the engineering of a novel feels like, but I know what a good short story feels like from the inside. What if I just write a succession of short stories that are all about the same people in chronological order, but each one has its own sort of sprung rhythm inside it to hold it taut, rather than being part of a big developing arc?” So that was the way I tricked myself, almost, into writing the first novel.

事实上,第一部小说《家中的意外》是由一连串的短篇小说构成的。这是另一个有用的关键,当时我想,“我不知道小说的设计是什么感觉,但我知道一个好的短篇小说从内心是什么感觉。如果我只是按照时间顺序写一系列关于同一个人的短篇小说,但每一个故事都有自己的节奏,让它绷紧,而不是成为一个大的发展弧的一部分呢?“所以这就是我骗自己写第一部小说的方式。

All the novels I'd tried to write before [Accidents in the Home] were all phoney. They were all other people's books that I was hoping to be able to write on behalf of other authors.

我以前写的所有小说都是假的。他们都是其他人的书,我希望能够代表其他作者写作。

It's interesting that you describe how you suddenly saw your way to writing a novel, and it felt “inevitable and deliciously exciting.” It makes me think of Stella in Clever Girl, when she first realizes she's clever, and she has this feeling that she can solve any physics problem, she can understand anything to do with the environment, she feels this sense of personal empowerment.

有趣的是,你描述了自己是如何突然看到了写小说的道路,而且感觉“不可避免,令人愉悦地兴奋”。“这让我想起了《聪明女孩》中的斯特拉,当她第一次意识到自己很聪明时,她觉得自己可以解决任何物理问题,她可以理解与环境有关的任何事情,她感到了一种个人赋权感。

I enjoyed that bit of that novel, I'm always pleased that I wrote that. But it's funny, I haven't quite connected it to that, but you're right: that's the feeling, the feeling of having almost a deluded, intoxicated moment and one does feel almost godlike when you're first writing and first getting it right.

我很喜欢那部小说,我总是很高兴我写了那部小说。但有趣的是,我还没有把它和那联系起来,但你是对的:那是一种感觉,一种几乎有一种错觉的感觉,陶醉的时刻,当你第一次写作,第一次把它弄好的时候,你确实感觉像上帝一样。

And 2002 was also the beginning of your relationship with The New Yorker.

2002年也是你和《纽约客》关系的开始。

Yes, that was just wonderful because, in fact, I'd had a funny moment years before that when I was struggling and not writing very well. I'd seen an agent in London and she'd said, “Come and visit, there's something interesting in what you're writing.” She said to get some short stories in somewhere, that that would be a good start. And I said, “Well, where shall I send them? What about The New Yorker?” Because all the writers I loved best had their stories in The New Yorker: Nadine Gordimer, Alice Munro. And I intercepted a look between her [and her colleague] as if, “What does she think she is…Is she mad or something?”

是的,那真是太棒了,因为事实上,我在那之前的几年里,我一直在挣扎,写作不好。我在伦敦见过一位经纪人,她说:“来看看,你写的东西有点有趣。”她说在某处写些短篇小说,那是个好的开始。我说:“好吧,我该把它们送到哪里去?纽约人呢?“因为我最爱的作家都有他们在纽约人的故事:纳丁·戈迪默,爱丽丝·蒙罗。我截获了她(和她的同事)之间的一个眼神,好像“她认为她是什么……她疯了还是什么?”

To have my first story in The New Yorker was a kind of blissful turnaround. It was lovely. The first thing I submitted was actually a version of the first chapter of Accidents in the Home which, as I say, was written rather like a series of short stories. I used that first chapter as a freestanding story, just changed it slightly to make it even more so. My publisher showed it to Debra Treisman at The New Yorker, and she accepted it, and that was blissful. You know, even though I knew my favourite writers had been published in The New Yorker, I didn't even know what it looked like. I didn't even know what format it was, or what else was in there. Of course, I immediately began to subscribe and have been a subscriber ever since, and I love it for all the other things it does.

我在《纽约客》上的第一个故事是一种幸福的转变。很可爱。我提交的第一件事实际上是《家里的意外》第一章的一个版本,正如我所说,这本书写得很像一系列短篇小说。我把第一章当作一个独立的故事,只是稍微修改了一下,使它更加独立。我的出版商在《纽约客》杂志上把它给黛布拉·特里斯曼看了,她接受了,那真是太好了。你知道,尽管我知道我最喜欢的作家已经在《纽约客》上发表了,但我甚至不知道它是什么样子。我甚至不知道它是什么格式,或者里面还有什么。当然,我马上就开始订阅了,从那以后我就一直是订阅者,我喜欢它做的所有其他事情。

I find that you have a way of encapsulating a complex idea or even a glimpse of an idea into a perfect gem of a sentence that illuminates exactly what the reader wants to know. For example, Sophy says in The Past: “Part of the oddity of marriage…was in how unwise it was to attend too intently to the other person…To the unmarried, it seemed that a couple must be intimately, perpetually exposed to each other — but actually that wasn't bearable. In order for love to survive, you had to close yourself off to a certain extent.” Sentences like that not only explain a concept, but they also explain the character's personal situation. I'm wondering, do you set out to do this intentionally, do you have to work at this, or is this your personal writing style?

我发现你有一种方法可以把一个复杂的想法,甚至是一个想法的一瞥,封装成一个完美的句子,准确地说明读者想知道什么。例如,索菲在过去说过:“婚姻的奇怪之处之一是……过于专注于另一个人是多么不明智……对于未婚的人来说,似乎一对夫妇必须亲密地、永久地接触对方——但实际上这是无法忍受的。为了让爱情存活下来,你必须在一定程度上封闭自己,“这样的句子不仅解释了一个概念,也解释了角色的个人情况。我在想,你是有意这样做的,你必须这样做,还是这是你个人的写作风格?

It's just the way I think. I'm always thinking about those things. And some of those thoughts are mine, but I'm not a very decisive thinker. When I have a thought like that one, I'm not really thinking it's true for all time, for all people. I'm thinking it might be true sometimes, and there might be other truths. I think that indecisiveness is part of why it took me so long, actually, to get writing, because I was quite tentative about what I knew. And then there's a way of turning that tentativeness into fiction, in fact, because in fiction it's wonderful. That is Sophy's thought, it's not mine, and yet it is something I've thought. I couldn't just have made up an alien thought, but I think I can have multiple thoughts.

我就是这么想的。我总是在想那些事。有些想法是我的,但我不是一个非常果断的思想家。当我有这样的想法时,我并不是真的认为这对所有人都是真的。我在想有时候这可能是真的,也许还有其他的真相。我认为优柔寡断是我花了这么长时间才开始写作的原因之一,因为我对自己所知道的东西还很犹豫。然后有一种方法可以把这种冲动变成小说,事实上,因为在小说中它是美妙的。这是索菲的想法,不是我的,但这是我的想法。我不可能只想出一个外星人的想法,但我想我可以有多种想法。

It's like what Keats says about negative capability [“when man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason”]. This is one of the great things about poetry or novels, is that you can hold contradictory things in your mind at the same time and they can both be true and you don't have to decide between them. I think actually that was one of my breakthroughs, when all the stuff that I was always thinking about life, and love, and parenting, and marriage, all that ordinary, domestic, familial stuff, of course my characters would be thinking that stuff and living out that stuff and living out that version of life. That's part of the mystery of how we make our lives, partly out of our ideas about our lives.

就像济慈所说的消极能力[“当人类能够在不确定、神秘、怀疑中,而不需要任何对事实和理性产生刺激性影响的时候]。这是诗歌或小说的一个伟大的东西,是你可以同时把矛盾的东西放在你的脑海中,它们都可以是真实的,你不必在两者之间做出决定。我认为这是我的突破之一,当我一直在思考生活、爱、养育、婚姻的所有事情,所有那些普通的、家庭的、家庭的东西,当然我的角色会想那些东西,生活在那种生活中。这是我们如何生活的神秘部分,部分是出于我们对生活的想法。

I appreciate that your characters develop in large part through their connections with other people — they don't achieve their full selves in a vacuum. They are affected not just by the actions of others, but by the proximity and ideas of other as well. Why did you choose to develop your characters that way?

我很欣赏你的角色在很大程度上是通过与他人的联系发展起来的——他们不会在真空中实现完整的自我。他们不仅会受到他人行为的影响,还会受到他人的邻近和想法的影响。你为什么选择以这种方式塑造你的角色?

Again, I don't really think it's a choice. I do think it's just what I feel. I mean, consider Alice Munro, think of how she makes you feel, how her girls grow in relation to their friends and their family impacting on them, and whether they react by being like them and growing towards what their family want them to be, or quite the opposite. It's just how I see things.

再说一次,我真的不认为这是一个选择。我想这正是我的感受。我的意思是,想想爱丽丝·蒙罗,想想她给你的感觉,想想她的女儿们在朋友和家人的关系中是如何成长的,对她们的影响,想想她们的反应是像她们一样,朝着家人想要的方向成长,还是恰恰相反。我就是这么看的。

Maybe it is a little bit of what I said before about how I think I'm quite an impressionable person, not a decisive person who goes out stamping myself on the world, forcefully. I'm all too receptive — when I was young I was in love with one person after another just because they seemed to me gloriously certain about who they were. And I'm applying that to friendships as well as actual romantic dreams or romantic relationships. That's very much how I see the world: that we are impressionable and no doubt we are of course impacting on other people, but they are impacting on us.

也许这是我之前说过的一点,我认为我是一个很容易受影响的人,而不是一个果断的人,会在世界上给自己留下深刻的印象。我太容易接受了——当我年轻的时候,我爱上了一个又一个的人,只是因为在我看来,他们非常确定自己是谁。我把它应用到友谊和现实的浪漫梦或浪漫关系中。这正是我对世界的看法:我们是易受影响的,毫无疑问,我们在影响别人,但他们在影响我们。

In fact, I think there was an image, I can't even remember whether it's still in Late in the Day — it may have been cut. But at some point, I tried to describe Christine's marriage with Alex as what happens in a marriage, which is that you grow around each other, you form each other, like when you see trees that do that. And they are actually separate trees, but this one's grown slightly to the left there because the other one was sticking up to the right. That seems to me very true about people's formation.

事实上,我认为有一张照片,我甚至不记得它是否还在白天的晚些时候——它可能被剪掉了。但在某个时候,我试着把克里斯蒂娜和亚历克斯的婚姻描述成婚姻中发生的事情,那就是你在彼此周围生长,形成彼此,就像你看到树那样。它们实际上是分开的树,但是这一棵稍微向左边生长,因为另一棵向右边竖立。在我看来,关于人的形成,这是非常正确的。

It occasionally worries me about women, the pressure upon women to be nice, and their own twisted ways of being nice.

它偶尔会让我担心女人,对女人施加的压力,以及她们自己扭曲的待人处事方式。

You've been compared with two Canadian authors which, as a Canadian, is really interesting to me: Mavis Gallant and Alice Munro. And you've noted that “Discovering Alice Munro's stories — Open Secrets was the first collection I read — unlocked so many insights, helped me to begin.”  What do you feel it is about Alice Munro's stories that galvanized you, and do you think Anne's statement about you and Alice is correct?

有人把你和两位加拿大作家作了比较,作为加拿大人,这两位作家我很感兴趣:马维斯·格兰特和爱丽丝·蒙罗。你注意到“发现艾丽丝·蒙罗的故事——公开的秘密是我读的第一本藏书——解开了这么多的洞察,帮助我开始。”你觉得艾丽丝·蒙罗的故事激发了你的灵感,你认为安妮关于你和艾丽斯的陈述是正确的吗?

Oh, it's such a lovely thing to say. It's a terrible thing to say, too, one ought to be thinking, “Oh no, I want to be nice.” But of course, no, writers don't want to be nice, one doesn't want to be thought of as nice. I just hope it's true, and it's incredible to be in the same sentence as Alice Munro, so wonderful.

哦,说起来真是太好了。说这句话也很可怕,一个人应该在想,“哦,不,我想做好人。”但当然,不,作家不想做好人,一个人不想被认为是好人。我只希望这是真的,和爱丽丝·蒙罗在同一句话里真是不可思议,太棒了。

Alice was so liberating, she was the first person whose books l loved that somehow opened a door for me to limp into writing after her, if you know what I mean. Whereas the other people, as I said earlier, I tried to write feeble imitations of their books, which were dead and fake. It's a funny thing. You have these families of writers you love: there's the wide family of the people who are passionately important to you, but most of them don't help you to write — and that doesn't matter, that's fine, you love them as a reader, they're more important in your life. But then there's this little intimate circle of the people who are actually gateways for you as a writer. Somehow, something about Munro's sentences, which were so plain and yet opened up intricacies of relationship and imagining and desiring, was so exciting. It made it possible for me to open things up in myself. So she was huge for me, when I discovered her, so exciting. I didn't know that straight away, I just thought she was huge because I loved to read her. And it was only afterwards that I realized that she also was so enabling for writing.

爱丽丝是如此的自由,她是第一个我喜欢的人,她的书为我打开了一扇门,让我跟着她一瘸一拐地写作,如果你知道我的意思的话。而其他人,如我前面所说,我试图写他们的书,这是死和假的无力模仿。这是件有趣的事。你有这些你爱的作家家庭:有一个对你非常重要的大家庭,但他们中的大多数都不能帮助你写作——这不重要,没关系,作为一个读者,你爱他们,他们在你的生活中更重要。但还有一个小小的亲密圈子,实际上是你们作为一个作家的门户。莫名其妙的是,蒙罗的句子是如此简单,却揭示了错综复杂的关系、想象和渴望,是如此令人兴奋。它使我有可能打开自己的东西。所以当我发现她时,她对我来说是巨大的,如此令人兴奋。我不知道这一点,我只是觉得她是巨大的,因为我喜欢读她。直到后来,我才意识到她也很擅长写作。

She's kind of an inspiration in a way.

她在某种程度上是个灵感来源。

Yes. And Mavis Gallant is another. A very, very different writer from Munro. And I came to her quite late after discovering Munro, and I just love her as much. She's more scary, she's such a good writer about politics and history and money and economics and war, and she does it so shrewdly and so effortlessly, it seems. She's brilliant at keeping me up to the mark. I sometimes have her books — as I do with Munro as well — open beside me as I'm writing, just to try and make me be that dry and that big in a small place. She writes little stories about little people which somehow become about the whole of the postwar era, and yet she does it by choosing four details, so everyday, and yet they're not. Marvelous, she's a marvel, too.

对。而梅维斯·迦兰是另一个。与蒙罗截然不同的作家。在发现蒙罗之后,我很晚才找到她,我也同样爱她。她更可怕,她是一个关于政治、历史、金钱、经济和战争的优秀作家,而且她做得如此精明,似乎如此毫不费力。她很擅长让我跟上进度。我有时会把她的书——就像我和蒙罗一样——在我写作的时候打开放在我身边,只是想让我在一个小地方变得那么干燥和那么大。她写了一些关于小人物的小故事,这些故事在某种程度上成为了整个战后时代的故事,然而她通过选择四个细节来做到这一点,所以每天都是这样,但事实并非如此。太棒了,她也是个奇迹。

I find it really interesting how much children appear in your writing — and not just as an aside. You give them complete roles and develop their characters. You're quite good at capturing them at a young age, when they have those strange rituals. 

我发现很有趣的是,你的作品中有很多孩子的身影——而不仅仅是作为旁白。你给他们完整的角色,发展他们的性格。你很擅长在它们很小的时候,捕捉它们那些奇怪的习性。

[laughter] I particularly enjoyed writing that one!

[笑声]我特别喜欢写这个!

I can imagine, especially the voices that they made about “taking your medicine.”

我可以想象,尤其是他们关于“吃药”的声音

You also capture the cusp of adolescence. That's often represented by girls who are somewhat malleable and unformed, almost empty vessels who have no sense of themselves in the world and are waiting to be filled. For example, Molly in The Past, or Jane in the story An Abduction. Why do you include so much detail and character development about children, and how do you write them so well?

你也抓住了青春期的尖峰。这通常是女孩的代表,她们有些可塑性和不成形,几乎是空的船只,他们在世界上没有自我感觉,正在等待被填满。比如,莫莉过去,或者是简在故事中被绑架。为什么你要把孩子的细节和性格发展包括在内,你是如何写得这么好的?

I don't think it's hard to write children, actually, because I think everyone's been one. For me it was a very vivid time — I kind of liked my childhood, especially up to the age of 11. I went to a rather grim school after that and so I write about that school really meanly, actually — it crops up in lots of my books and I take my revenge on it. It was very sort of strict about homework and things. But before that — and afterwards as well — I had a lot of fun. I was a shy little girl, but I had some close friends and we played such imaginative games and had such fantasy lives, that it feels very close to me somehow. I can remember it easily, with great relish for what fun it is to write.

实际上,我不认为写孩子很难,因为我认为每个人都是这样。对我来说,那是一段非常生动的时光——我有点喜欢我的童年,尤其是直到11岁。在那之后我去了一所相当糟糕的学校,所以我写了一篇关于那所学校的文章,非常刻薄,事实上——它突然出现在我的很多书中,我对它进行了报复。对家庭作业和其他事情都很严格。但在那之前——之后也是——我玩得很开心。我是一个害羞的小女孩,但我有一些亲密的朋友,我们玩了如此富有想象力的游戏,有如此幻想的生活,这感觉非常接近我。我能很容易地记住它,对写作的乐趣津津乐道。

On the whole, you have to push adults a bit harder to get to their crazy sides. (Not really, I'm not sure I really mean that.) But with children it's all there — they sort of mainline life, don't they? They cut through the stuff that makes grown-up life slightly duller. So I love writing them. In my absolutely new book that I'm just starting, I've got a little boy, and I'm really enjoying writing him. He's not going to be a really huge character, but he's going to have some very fixed ideas and be quite puritanical, as children can. So that's a slightly new thing for me to do and I'm interested in it.

总的来说,你必须更努力地逼迫成年人去理解他们疯狂的一面。(不是真的,我不确定我是这个意思。)但对于孩子们来说,一切都在那里——他们有点像生活的主线,不是吗?他们剪掉了那些让成年人的生活稍微乏味一点的东西。所以我喜欢写它们。在我刚刚开始的新书中,我有了一个小男孩,我真的很享受为他写作。他不会是一个非常重要的角色,但他会有一些非常固定的想法,会像孩子们一样变得非常清教徒化。这对我来说有点新鲜,我对此很感兴趣。

虽然你的书里充满了孩子,但最终你的书是关于女人的。还有家庭生活,家庭生活中无穷无尽的细节:照看孩子、购物、打扫房间、分担育儿责任等等。所有这些都是通过女性角色的眼睛来体验的,而男性角色似乎常常是主要故事的附带内容。它们仍然会影响女性的性格,因为我们之前说过,性格不会在真空中发展,但从某种程度上说,似乎男性在某种程度上是分开的。你会有意识地这样组织你的书吗?

It's a complicated story, but I very much know that I'm writing with women at the center, maybe that is inevitable. But men have written so brilliantly for so long making women the center of their books, haven't they? DH Lawrence, Henry James, and others created those marvelous female characters who became the vessels of all of their subtlest thought and experience. So it seems a shame, and I want to do boys and men, I want that.

这是一个复杂的故事,但我非常清楚我是以女性为中心写作的,也许这是不可避免的。但是男人们这么长时间以来都写得那么出色,把女人作为他们书籍的中心,不是吗?劳伦斯、亨利·詹姆斯等人创造了这些奇妙的女性角色,这些角色成为她们所有微妙思想和经历的容器。所以这看起来很可惜,我想做男孩和男人,我想这样。

I was really hoping that, in Late in the Day, Alex and Zachary would feel more central. I tried to really make them not just products of the women's lives or aspects of the women's lives, but men doing their own thing, going after their own thing. And I'm actually much more sympathetic to Alex than I think a few early readers, who really are quite cross with him, though a couple of them were sympathetic. I'm sympathetic to him. I quite like those rather dangerous men who just won't conform and won't quite buckle down to being nice. It occasionally worries me about women, the pressure upon women to be nice, and their own twisted ways of being nice, so there's something I quite like about men refusing to do that.

我真的希望,当天晚些时候,亚历克斯和扎卡里能感觉更集中。我努力让他们不仅仅是女性生活的产物或者女性生活的方方面面,而是做自己的事,追求自己的事。事实上,我对亚历克斯的同情比我认为的一些早期读者要多,他们对他很生气,尽管有些人很同情他。我同情他。我很喜欢那些相当危险的男人,他们就是不循规蹈矩,也不会尽心尽力去做个好人。有时我也会担心女人,担心女人对友善的压力,担心她们对友善的扭曲方式,所以我很喜欢男人拒绝这样做。

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