「宴會即將開始」 “Everything’s Ready."

Yes, Clarissa thinks, it’s time for the day to be over. We throw our parties; we abandon our families to live alone in Canada; we struggle to write books that do not change the world, despite our gifts and unstinting efforts, our most extravagant hopes. We live our lives, do whatever we do, and then we sleep — it’s as simple and ordinary as that. A few jump out of windows or drown themselves or take pills; more die by accident; and most of us, the vast majority, are slowly devoured by some disease or, if we’re very fortunate, by time itself. There’s just this for consolation: an hour here or there when our lives seem, against all odds and expectations, to burst open and give us everything we’ve ever imagined, though everyone but children (and perhaps even they) knows these hours will inevitabily be followed by others, far darker and more difficult. Still, we cherish the city, the morning; we hope, more than anything, for more.
是的,克勞麗莎想著,是該結束這一天的時候了。我們舉行宴會,我們拋棄家庭獨自住在加拿大,我們埋首寫作,儘管我們才氣縱橫,而且嘔心瀝血,抱著殷切的期望,但那些書仍無法改變世界。我們過我們的生活,做我們所做的,然後我們就寢 — 就那麼單純又平凡。有少數人跳樓或投水或服安眠藥,更多人死於非命;我們大部分人,都是緩緩地被某種疾病所吞噬,或者,如果我們吉人天相,就能壽終正寢。只有這個可供慰藉:當成功的機會渺茫,前程黯淡時,偶爾會出現一個小時,使我們的生活似乎柳暗花明,讓我們心想事成,雖然除了兒童(或許即使是兒童)之外每個人都知道,這些時刻之後無法避免的會是其他更黑暗也更艱困的時刻。然而,我們珍惜這座城市,清晨;我們最期盼的,是能有更多收穫。

Heaven only knows why we love it so.
只有天知道我們為什麼那麼喜愛它。

Here, then, is the party, still laid; here are the flowers, still fresh; everything ready for the guests, who have turned out to be only four. Forgive us, Richard. It is, in fact , a party, after all. It is a party for the not-yet-dead; for the relatively un-damaged; for those who for mysterious reasons have the fortune to be alive.
那麼,這就是那場宴會囉,照常舉行。這是花朵,依然新鮮,一切皆已就緒,只等賓客蒞臨,總共只有四人。原諒我們,理察。事實上,這畢竟是一場宴會。是為尚未過世者舉行的宴會,為比較未受傷害的人舉辦的,為這些基於神祕的理由幸運得以存活的人所舉辦的。

It is, in fact, great good fortune.
事實上,那是天大的福分。

我一年前寫了一篇觀影心得「砸了宴會:『時時刻刻』的自由 Failed Party: “The Hours”」,今天早上我終於讀完了『時時刻刻』的小說。很感動。重讀自己抓出宴會砸鍋的這個重點來看,影像敘事跟文字敘事穿透真實的方式真的有巨大的差距。電影讓人瞥見那個想像的場景,給予你意像上的支持、但是也限制了你看見真實的可能。我想除了「蘭花賊」(Adaptation)之外,除了文字很難用電影語言來處理那麼多層次的喃喃自語與多重真實。迎接影像,我看見了宴會的毀敗;因為閱讀,我看見了宴會的舉行。

電影在傳達蘿拉(布朗太太)的感受方面特別成功。光是影像就已經可以讓人顫慄,閱讀文字則讓人更深入地進入這個角色的抽離之中。例如:

…It matters. It shines. Much of the world, whole countries, have been decimated, but a force that feels unambiguourly like goodness has prevailed; even Kitty, it seems, will be healed by medical science. She will be healed. And if she’s not, if she’s past help, Dan and Laura and their son and the promise of the second child will all still be here, in the room, where a little boy frowns in concentration over the job of removing the candles and where his father holds one up to his mouth and exhorts him to lick off the frosting.
…這一刻是那麼的重要,那發著光。這個世界的大部分,所有的國家,都被打得落花流水,但有一股感覺上與善良一樣明確的力量會高奏凱歌。即使是凱蒂,似乎也可以經由醫學獲得痊癒。她會痊癒。如果她無法痊癒,如果她已病入膏肓,丹與蘿拉、他們的兒子及即將出生的第二個孩子都仍會在這裡,在這個房間;這裡有一個小男孩蹙著眉聚精會神地將蠟燭拿開,他父親將其中一根蠟燭拿到他嘴邊,敦促他將上頭的糖霜舔掉。

Laura reads the moment as it passes. Here it is, she thinks; there it goes. The page is about to turn.
蘿拉望著這一刻逝去,它就在這裡,她想;它走了,該翻到下一頁了。

而抽離就在這個時刻裡面。其他的人都是活在時刻裡面的,只有蘿拉擁有活在時刻之外的能力(詛咒?)。然而在很多年後,她終於有機會在「戴洛維夫人」的照顧之下,走進一個時刻之中:宴會即將開始

The Hours,Michael Cunningham 著,PICADOR USA 出版。「時時刻刻」,蔡憫生譯,希代書版。

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