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经济学人:新书出炉 祸不单行

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Books and Arts;Book Review;New fiction;Trouble in pairs

文艺;书评;新书出炉;祸不单行

Beautiful Lies. By Clare Clark.

《美丽谎言》,克莱尔·克拉克著买。

CLARE CLARK found her new heroine when she unearthed an article in a literary journal about a British Liberal MP's wife who had led a double life in the 1890s. In “Beautiful Lies” Maribel is a Chilean bohemian married to a radical socialist, Edward Campbell Lowe. Her exotic accent, chain-smoking and talent for poetry and photography mark her as a scarlet sheep among the white flock of London society. Maribel also harbours a salacious secret history. If it were ever exposed, the couple's peers “would smash their lives as carelessly as eggs”.

克莱尔·克拉克偶然看见刊登在文学期刊上的一篇文章(描述19世纪90年代,一位英国自由党派人士兼国会议员的妻子,过着双重生活的故事)时,脑海中就浮现出了《美丽谎言》的女主角。 《美丽谎言》的女主角玛丽贝尔是智裔波西米亚人,嫁给了一位激进的社会主义分子爱德华·坎贝尔·劳伍。玛丽贝尔的外国口音、烟不离手的习惯、写诗天赋与摄影才华让她成为伦敦上流社会中格格不入的异类。玛丽贝尔也有一段不为人知的风流韵事。她的情史一旦曝光,夫妇俩的同僚一定会让他们身败名裂,像被无情砸碎的鸡蛋一样。

The book is set in 1887, which draws parallels with Britain today. Celebrations for Queen Victoria's Jubilee are marred by economic crisis, prompting strikes, riots in Trafalgar Square and a corrupt press. Amid the turmoil Edward's passionate socialist views jeopardise his seat in Parliament and Maribel's past begins to infiltrate her present. Meanwhile, a mercurial newspaperman appears to be a friend and a socialist sympathiser, but he soon changes tack, hinting that he knows too much. Fear of exposure lies at every turn.

本书的故事背景虽是1887年,却与现今的英国颇为相似。当时,维多利亚女王五十周年大庆①的喜悦气氛被经济危机、突然爆发的罢工、特拉法加广场的暴动和堕落的新闻媒体等所破坏。在这样一片动荡中,爱德华激进的社会主义观使其国会议员的地位受到威胁,而且,玛丽贝尔的过往也开始影响她现在的生活。同时,一个狡猾多变的记者假装成一个社会主义崇拜者,开始与爱德华套交情。但不久,他就翻脸,并且暗示自己已经知道了很多秘密。担心秘密曝光,夫妻俩惶惶不可终日。

Ms Clark takes her time with this long, undulating novel. But fans of historical fiction will not be put off by this. She builds the story with discreet layering and surprises for the reader about Maribel's adventures. Descriptions of photographing “Buffalo Bill's Wild West”, investigating a gold mine in Spain and liaising with a prostitute in an elaborate blackmailing plan all add colour.

在这本情节跌宕起伏的长篇小说中,克拉克夫人的行文风格有点慢条斯理。不过,历史小说的爱好者一定不会因此丧失热情。作者用精巧细致的铺垫和层出不穷的惊喜描绘出玛丽贝尔的传奇经历。文中对拍摄“西大荒的水牛比尔”,调查西班牙的某个金矿,还有主角与一位妓女联手合作完成了一次构思巧妙的勒索行动等描述,都为小说增添了色彩。这些奇思妙想都为小说增添了色彩。

The players are vividly drawn. Maribel and Edward are united by the secret of her past, but their bond is undermined by secrets they keep from each other. Maribel knows he visits a brothel, sensing that a wife who refuses her husband such things “was either a duchess or a damned fool”. When Edward asks Maribel about her photograph of the Spanish boy—“The one with the eyes. Who is he?”—she does not know if he has guessed its significance.

所有的角色描写得栩栩如生。玛丽贝尔和爱德华因玛丽贝尔过去的秘密而结识并结合,但却由于双方互不信任,互藏秘密,导致彼此关系恶化。玛丽贝尔知道丈夫爱德华经常流连烟花之地,却敏感地认为,一个不允许丈夫逛妓院的妻子“不是公爵夫人,就是十足的傻瓜。”她有一张名为“那双眸子,那个人”的西班牙男孩的照片,当爱德华问她照片中的那个人是谁时,她不知道爱德华是不是已经猜到照片的意思。

The charm of “Beautiful Lies” is that Ms Clark breaks the usual Victorian moral code, exploring both the colourful world outside the drawing room and the depths of her characters' minds. A stirring and seductive novel.

《美丽谎言》的魅力在于克拉克夫人通过描写客厅外的五彩斑斓的世界和主人公内心的深处,打破了维多利亚时期的普遍道德标准。这是一部激动人心、引人入胜的小说。

重点单词   查看全部解释    
corrupt [kə'rʌpt]

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adj. 腐败的,堕落的
vt. 使 ...

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bond [bɔnd]

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n. 债券,结合,粘结剂,粘合剂
vt. 使结

 
mercurial [mə:'kjuəriəl]

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adj. 善变的,活泼的,水银的,[天文]水星的 n.

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radical ['rædikəl]

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adj. 激进的,基本的,彻底的
n. 激进分

 
code [kəud]

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n. 码,密码,法规,准则
vt. 把 ...

 
passionate ['pæʃənit]

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adj. 热情的,易怒的,激情的

联想记忆
fiction ['fikʃən]

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n. 虚构,杜撰,小说

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literary ['litərəri]

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adj. 文学的

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discreet [di'skri:t]

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adj. 谨慎的

 
turmoil ['tə:mɔil]

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n. 骚动,混乱

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