2012年9月23日 星期日

科幻大師Ray Bradbury關於成長的感人作品:《Farewell Summer》


讀中學時有段時間常看科幻小說作家Ray Bradbury的書,之後多年沒再追隨。直到數月前從新聞報道得得知他的死訊,才再度想起他。他享年九十一歲,一直創作至老年。


隱約記得有一篇科幻小說寫兒童被外星人洗腦,很想重看,卻忘了是否他的作品。在台灣Page One見到有他的書,本想找回那個故事,卻給我遇上另一本以小孩為主角的書--Farewell Summer。雖然不是我想要的那本,但封底語蠻吸引,我便買下了。

看了幾章,覺得有點不妥,為何故事會這麼怪?十三歲的男孩Dougalas Spaulding發了一個有關死亡的惡夢,然後用玩具槍「殺」了一位老人家,再召集一班朋友仔向鎮上的老人家宣戰。他們的願望,與小飛俠一樣,就是永不長大。而老人們也怒火中燒,要懲罰這些小男孩...... 我最初以為內容有科幻或超現實成份,以為小孩子和老人是在爭奪實質的「時間」,但原來,故事如現實一樣,沒有停止時間流逝的魔法。他們的鬥爭,只是意識形態上的鬥爭。

然後,我發現這本書是一本叫Dandelion Wine的續篇。封面字大大隻寫著The eagerly anticipated sequel to Dendelion Wine, 封底也寫著America's preeminent storyteller RAY BRADVUY has come home to revisit the verdant landscape of his most adored works, Dandelion Wine,為何我常看不到似的?一查之下,竟發現Dandelion Wine早於1957年出版,據作者所說,兩本書的寫作時間相距五十五年!

但這本書篇幅不長,作者文筆優美,用字淺白,就算內容有點匪夷所思,難以理解,我也有動力讀下去。

想不到,越讀,越感動。「成長」本身就足以構成一個個動人的故事。

Spoiler ahead:

你明知,小男孩做的事是徒勞無功的,有誰敵得過時間大神呢?但看他們又絕食(避免長大)又去破壞鐘樓(希望時間停止),會不禁心軟起來。而老人Mr. Calvin C. Quartermain,看似狡滑惡毒,但他也只不過是另一個不敵時間大神的可憐人。

書裡有很多感人的情節,如爺爺知道Douglas的惡行,卻選擇不去揭穿他;Douglas的弟弟經常不服從他的命令,好像想奪去他在朋友圈中的「龍頭地位」,但他們倆其實相親相愛;還有老人深知,只要一個特別女孩的出現,就會令男孩成長;還有老人Quartermain與Douglas的互動......

如現實情況一樣,書中的女孩不像男孩般懼怕成長(但漸漸地她們會變得怕老),這段描述一個剛滿十四歲的女孩慶祝生日的段落寫得很好:

Douglas watched as Lisabell bent toward the cake. The soft scent of the candles wafted on the breeze. And there was her face, like a summer peach, beautiful and warm, and the light of the candles reflcted in her dark eyes. Douglas held his breath. The entire world waited and held its breath. Quartermain was frozen, gripping his chair as if it were his own body threatening to run off with him. Fourteen candles. Fourteen years to be snuffed out and a goal set toward one more as good or better. Lisabell seemed happy. She was floating down the great river of Time and enjoying the trip, blissful with her journeying. The happiness of the insane was in her eyes and hand.

這是一位老人家講述如何面對死亡的段落:
Learning to let go should be learned before learning to get. Life should be touched, not strangled. You've got to relax, let i happen at times, and at others move forward with it. It's like boats. You keep your motor on so you can steer with the current. And when you hear the sound of the waterflall coming nearer and nearer, tidy up the boat, put on your best tie and hat, and smoke a cigar right up till the moment you go over. That's a triumph.

另一段:
Look, life gives us everything. Then it takes it away. Youth, love, happiness, friends. Darkness gets it all in the end. We didn't have enough sense to know you can will it- life- to others. Your looks, your youth. Pass it on Give it away. It's lent to us for only a while. Use it, let go without crying. it's a very fancy relay race, heading God knows where.

真是智慧老人的話。

這本書令人看得心有戚戚然。想不到結局很妙,男讀者當會有較深感受。


3 則留言:

  1. 好想看啊。
    [版主回覆09/24/2012 07:24:27]好短,好快可以睇完,係開頭時難明啲。

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  2. 我看過一千零一本ray bradbury的作品咁大把,就是那部經典反烏托邦小說"fahrenheit 451"。"farewell summer"的故事如妳所言,真是匪夷所思!這份天馬行空的創作力,令人讚嘆。



    p.s. 'learning to let go'是一生的功課。我一直在學,當然學得很差 (在下以佛學和cosmology為學習法門。認識一個gifted的人,他時刻就能放下,根本毋用甚麼學習、修煉的呢)。
    [版主回覆09/24/2012 07:27:49]我反而未看fahrenheit 451。這小說還被拍成電影呢!
    這本書很細緻和詩意地講「成長」與「死亡」,亦充滿童心。但現在的孩子太早熟,應該不會有書中孩子的想法。(到後來,主角的其中一位朋友改變主意,希望長大至25歲才停,可以「有車有女」。不是每個人都想做Peter Pan)

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  3. Learning to let go 那段寫得很好,我也正在努力學習。
    [版主回覆09/26/2012 06:16:46]人人都要學。

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