2016年10月15日 星期六

Louise Penny (Chief Inspector Gamache #12): A Great Reckoning (part 1/2)

這是我看的第12本Chief Inspector Gamache系列小說。其實我覺得它叫Three Pines系列較為適合,畢竟Three Pines是小說的主要場境,而這個地方的重要性比男主角Gamache更高。(雖然,~thank God~ 凶殺案終於不再在這個小鎮發生。)有很多讀者留言告訴Louise Penny想去Three Pines這個與世隔絕的小鎮呢。

困擾Chief Inspector Gamache多時的黑警問題終於解決,最奸最惡最有權力那位已被處置,而背叛他的多年好友Michel也眾叛親離,自我流放了。但,問題並未完全解決。為了訓練新的黑警,以助黑高層「收o靚」,警察學堂也被污染。要影響一個人,當然是越早越好,聰明人都會從教育入手。黑高層將一套扭曲的價值觀灌輸給警校學生,讓他們融入這套文化。“The academy had become a nursery, a factory, a training ground and a conduit for brutality. It created and fostered an environment where that sort of behavior was normal, valued and rewarded.” 於是,仁慈和同理心被說成是軟弱,暴力是對付不聽話者或「唔識做」者的不二法門,警方權威不容挑戰。
Gamache本來在平定亂局一役中身心俱疲,已和太太Reine Marie和狗狗Henri退隱到Three Pines這個寧靜小鎮休養生息。但是,他知道警校的毒害未除,警校學生,包括下學期畢業的,是由黑警教出來的。那套扭曲的價值觀,不知道會在警校流傳多久。他覺得一定要親身出馬去「撥亂反正」(這個詞已被污染,讓我想想用哪個詞代替......)。

這個決定很Gamache,他給人的感覺就像個聖人。但他今次作了個非常冒險的決定,就是請兩個罪人當教授。一個是背叛過他的好友,另一個是本身在警校任教的腐敗警官Serge Leduc。請前者是因為想將他當為"bad example";留後者是想一邊監視他,一邊搜集他的罪證起訴他。又或者,他是想看清楚Ludec究竟如何影響學生們。知道方法才能找到解藥。

學生方面,作者主要描寫四位(兩位高班兩位低班),他們亦是今集謀殺案的嫌疑犯。兩位高班學生包括聰明的中國女子和一個火爆衝動無禮又愛欺負人的男生(但他卻是高材生);兩位初入警學的學生是以英語為母語的魁北克人(即Anglo-Quebecers。在魁北克,法語是主流,講英語的人常會被歧視),另一位是個像《龍紋身女孩》女主角的Goth girl。後者本來不獲選入警校,是Gamache看過她的履歷表後決定召收的。她除了名字和Gamache的亡母一樣外,與Gamache有另一重關係,而這亦成為書中的疑團(不過這個疑團不難破解,我不久便猜中)。


與以往不少作品一樣,作者會寫一條副線,讓人多認識Quebec這個地方。今次的副線亦是一個迷團,關於一張古地圖的秘密。與以往不同的是,她今次介紹的Quebec「歷史人物」是虛構的,作者藉著這個人物表達反戰思想。戰爭是真實的,戰爭帶來的傷害是真實的,所以那位人物是虛構的也沒有關係。作者聰明之處是,她將Three Pines這個虛構小鎮為何在地圖上(現實的和書中的)查不到這個「迷團」也一併解開了。喜歡幻想這個小鎮的讀者應該很高興。



p.s. 作者的丈夫最近因失智症過身,看到她在書中描述角色喪偶的痛苦心情,可能她寫的時候就是在想像這一天的到來。

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"But the Gaspé Peninsula? Hundreds of miles away, where the edge of Québec met salt water."
- Gamache的好友自我流放到Gaspé Peninsula,我便查查這個是什麼地方︰

加斯佩半島,位於加拿大魁北克省東部,長約240公里。位於半島北部的Shickshock Mountains的Mount Jacques Cartier海拔1268米,為半島最高點。半島上河流眾多,主要有Cascapédia River、St-Jean、約克河等。加斯佩半島大部分屬於保護區,建有佛里昂國家公園和加斯佩省立公園。主要經濟活動為捕魚和伐木,還有銅,鉛和鋅的開採。

“While he’d sometimes had a moustache and sometimes a beard, he was now clean- shaven, the lines of his face visible for all to see. It was a careworn face. But most of the lines, if followed back like a trail, would lead to happiness. To the faces a face made when laughing or smiling, or sitting quietly enjoying the day. And perhaps, when their own faces were mapped, kindness would be discovered there too.”

“The Manchus breached the Great Wall and took Beijing because someone opened a gate. From the inside. As simple as that. A general, a traitor, let them in and an empire fell.”

“His one real talent is fooling others into believing that he has talent,”

“Anyone could take something by force, but not many could get someone to surrender without a fight.”

“Their fridges and freezers were full of shortbread and fruitcake and turkey casseroles. Their own form of insulation against the winter.”

“A delicate aroma of garlic and fennel drifted into the living room and mingled with the scent of wood smoke from the hearth. Outside, the night was crisp and starless as clouds rolled in, threatening yet more snow.”

-就是這些描述讓人愛上Three Pines吧。

“He would follow Armand Gamache through the gates of Hell, and the Sûreté Academy was as close as Québec got to Hades.”

“Amelia snorted to herself. Be insolent or not. But don’t do it, then suck up in the same breath. It was pathetic. Either commit or don’t do it.”

“Don’t believe everything you think.”
-都說Don’t believe everything you see, 作者換了一個字,句子便有趣起來。

//“I was one of his students. And I suppose you could call him a mentor.”
 “Did he choose you, or did you choose him?”//

“While Beauvoir didn’t much like what he saw when he looked at Amelia Choquet, he had to admit since the beginning of the term Cadet Choquet had never pretended to be anything other than what she was.”

“But he seemed too intent on his own message to hear anyone else’s.”

“So very young, he thought. So young they don’t know it.”

“The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.”

“Come hither, all ye empty things,/ Ye bubbles raised by breath of kings;/ Who float upon the tide of state,/ Come hither, and behold your fate.”
-原來這首詩是Gulliver's Travel(格列佛遊記)的作者Jonathan Swift寫的。 
A Satirical Elegy on the Death of a Late Famous General 全詩在此

“The village had lulled him, however briefly, into forgetting that terrible things happened. He wondered if it was a gift, to forget however briefly, or a curse.”

//It meant they could plan, they could strategize,” said Charpentier. “They could see into the future. Where they were going. And what they’d find. The tribe, the nation, the enterprise with the most accurate maps won.”//

“Mais, c’est extraordinaire,” said Monsieur Bergeron, then he shook his head. “When you think of the lives lost for inches of soil.”

“To say there was animosity between the men would be a gross understatement. The air was almost unbreathable for the sulfur. Most of it emanating from Brébeuf, but Gamache was giving off his fair share. It was hidden beneath a razor- thin, and crackling, sheen of civility. But the stink of a long- rotted relationship was squeezing through the cracks.”

“The two agents stared at the distorted, grotesque shadows of the bare trees, thrown onto the snow by the harsh headlights."

“True, but who knows him at the academy? The cadets? Their parents? The other professors? He was already distrusted because of all the changes he’d made. Rumors are hard to prove, but they’re even harder to disprove. We both know that character assassination is easy. All it takes is a suggestion. A well- placed word in someone’s ear.”

9 則留言:

  1. 才疏學淺, 真係唔認識呢位作家同佢嘅作品

    1. 唔識佢唔出奇,佢唔算好出名, 雖然寫偵探小說, 但內容比較靜態。台灣譯過佢頭兩本書, 可能賣得唔好, 冇繼續出。
      不過佢呢本書最近登上咗NewYork Times暢銷書榜榜首呢, 希望多啲人睇啦佢啦。

  2. 算是警察小說一類 ? 總覺得即使加了查案情節仍不會好看。

    1. 這系列本來是偵探小說, 但寫到後來似警察小說。 我沒看過嗚澤了, 但聽說陳浩基的警察小說很好看(還得了獎呢)。 我有一本, 未看便借了給人, 很辛苦才取回來。 :)

    2. 我印象中沒有很好看的警察小說……

  3. 作者把角色喪偶的痛苦心情描寫到肉,因為這猜想源於現寫感受。創作故事,就是真實人生的剪接與加工,往往有真實藍本參照;當藍本是作者自己,故事格外有血有肉,因為那不是想像,而是體驗與體會。是以偉大作品 (不獨是文學,其他創作亦然),都透著作者的深刻感受與歷練。如一位欣賞者也有相若體驗,便可能觸發共震,感通無礙,透過作品與作者相知相識同情共感,這時這位欣賞者,該是個幸運也幸福的人吧。

    1. 作者說幸好她丈夫得了失智症而不是突然死亡,她有充足的時間說再見。她是透過相睇認識丈夫的,丈夫比她年長超過二十年,可能她一早已有心理準備丈夫會先她而去。書中不只一個角色喪偶,有一位消沈了很久,寫作可能是她的心理治療。
      她在facebook宣佈丈夫過身這個消息時,有很多讀者留言安慰(他們不會只寫r.i.p.,多數都寫得很好),亦有讀者分享自己的喪偶經驗。作者與讀者接通了。我訂閱了Humans of New York這個facebook page, 普通人的經歷經常惹起共鳴呢。

    2. r.i.p. 本來就是最廉價打卡之一種,如果沒有話要說,又有誰逼你要在臉書裡亮個相表個關懷呢?


    3. 這要看情況。很多人想表達關心,不懂說什麼,又怕講錯話,便唯有r.i.p.。有些人則寫下r.i.p.後,可能轉頭便忘了。喪親者是需要長期關心的。不過如何關心,也有學問。