小說.人生

How to Read a Book 談到如何閱讀小說時,有些說法好像跟一般寫評論的人略有不同。例如要讀得快,否則未讀至最後,前面的情節可能已忘記了大半,對整體看法可能有影響。

另外,要讀得投入,更要設身處地,不宜遽然批評內容和情節或人物。也即不要聽古駁古。Don’t criticize imaginative writing until you fully appreciate what the author has tried to make you experience(頁213)。此書作者固然有其道理。且不論這些,倒是有些講法說新鮮不新鮮,卻能點出小說與人生的微妙關係與不一樣的況味,無妨細味一下。

A story is like life itself; in life, we do not expect to understand events as they occur, at least with total clarity, but looking back on them, we do understand.   So the reader of a story, looking back on it after he has finished it, understands the relation of events and the order of actions. (頁219)

Paradoxically, however, a story ceases to be like life on its last page.  Life goes on, but the story does not. (頁220)

We suspect that life as we know it is unjust.  Why do good people suffer, and bad ones prosper?  We do not know, we cannot know, but the fact causes great anxiety in everyone.  In story, this chaotic and unpleasant situation is adjusted, and that is extremely satisfying to us. (頁221)

The tragic hero does learn why, though often, of course, only after the ruin of his life.  We can share his insight without sharing his suffering. (頁221)

是,真實人生很多時都令人欲哭無淚,因為不知道為什麼,也無從知道。有時,只能苦笑,或接受;算不算認命,就看當事人如何感受看待和處理了。小說,有時真的可以當避難所,有如置身生活中,卻又可以置身事外。直是既理想又便宜的世界。

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