坟场之书 The Graveyard Book——敞开心扉,拥抱生活

尼尔·盖曼(1960~ )是英国当代文坛最重要的科幻小说家和奇幻文学作家,其创作领域横跨幻想小说、科幻小说、恐怖小说、儿童小说、漫画及歌词。他的作品不但部部畅销,更获奖无数。迄今为止,盖曼的作品如《睡魔》(Sandman)系列、《美国众神》(American Gods)、《卡洛琳》(Coraline)等,已经为他赢得了包括世界奇幻奖(World Fantasy Award)、雨果奖(Hugo Award)、布拉姆·斯托克奖(Bram Stoker Award)等一系列科幻小说与奇幻小说的最高奖项。

《坟场之书》(The Graveyard Book,购买)于2008年出版,之后陆续拿下了雨果奖、纽伯瑞儿童文学奖(Newbery Medal)和卡内基文学奖(Carnegie Medal)。小说的主人公名为诺伯蒂·欧文斯(Nobody Owens),他的父母在他幼年时被神秘的黑衣人所杀害,而侥幸存活的他则被坟场的幽灵所收养。小说精彩细腻的文字、玄妙奇异的想象以及扣人心弦的故事深深地吸引着读者,让人不禁为之着迷。下文选自小说第一章。

精彩片段

坟场之书

There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife.
黑暗中有一只手,手中握着一把刀。

The knife had a handle of polished black bone, and a blade1) finer and sharper than any razor2). If it sliced you, you might not even know you had been cut, not immediately.
这把刀有着抛光的黑色骨质刀柄,刀身比任何一种剃刀都更精致、更锋利。如果被它划伤,你甚至都不会有所觉察,至少不会立刻觉察到。

The knife had done almost everything it was brought to that house to do, and both the blade and the handle were wet.
这把刀已经差不多完成了自己被带到这所房子所需完成的全部使命,刀身和刀柄都还血迹未干。

The street door was still open, just a little, where the knife and the man who held it had slipped in, and wisps3) of nighttime mist slithered4) and twined5) into the house through the open door.
沿街的那扇门还微敞着,男人手握刀子悄悄溜了进去,夜间的缕缕薄雾也蜿蜒缭绕着由门缝潜入屋内。

The man Jack6) paused on the landing. With his left hand he pulled a large white handkerchief from the pocket of his black coat, and with it he wiped off the knife and his gloved right hand which had been holding it; then he put the handkerchief away. The hunt was almost over. He had left the woman in her bed, the man on the bedroom floor, the older child in her brightly colored bedroom, surrounded by toys and half-finished models. That only left the little one, a baby barely a toddler7), to take care of. One more and his task would be done.
杰克在楼梯平台处停了下来。他用左手从黑色外套的口袋中拿出一条白色大手帕,将刀子和一直握刀的、戴着手套的右手都擦拭干净。然后,他把手帕放在一边。杀人游戏就快结束了。他已经放倒了三个人:女人横在床上,男人倒在卧室的地板上,大一点的孩子躺在她色彩明亮的卧室里,身边散落着各种玩具和未完成的模型。尚未处理的就只剩下一个小不点——勉强算得上一个蹒跚学步的婴孩吧。把他干掉以后,男人的任务就算完成了。

He flexed his fingers. The man Jack was, above all things, a professional, or so he told himself, and he would not allow himself to smile until the job was completed.
男人活动了一下手指。对这位杰克而言,他的首要身份是一名职业杀手,至少他是这样告诉自己的。所以,在任务完成之前,他不会允许自己露出笑容。

His hair was dark and his eyes were dark and he wore black leather gloves of the thinnest lambskin8).
他头发乌黑,眼睛幽暗,戴着黑色的皮革手套——那是用最薄的羔羊皮制成的。

  The toddler’s room was at the very top of the house. The man Jack walked up the stairs, his feet silent on the carpeting. Then he pushed open the attic door, and he walked in. His shoes were black leather, and they were polished to such a shine that they looked like dark mirrors: you could see the moon reflected in them, tiny and half full.
小不点的房间在房子的顶楼。杰克走上楼梯,双脚在地毯上悄无声息地移动。接着,他推开顶楼的门,走了进去。他的鞋是用黑色皮革做的,擦得光可鉴人,看起来就像两块黑油油的镜面:你可以看见倒映在上面的那轮小巧的半弦月。

The real moon shone through the casement window. Its light was not bright, and it was diffused by the mist, but the man Jack would not need much light. The moonlight was enough. It would do.
真正的月亮透过窗扉撒下光芒。月光并不明亮,更因薄雾的笼罩而变得迷蒙,不过杰克并不需要太多的光。这月光已经足够了。真的足够了。

He could make out the shape of the child in the crib9), head and limbs and torso10).
他能看得见婴儿床中那孩子的轮廓,能辨认出那孩子的头、四肢以及躯干。

The crib had high, slatted11) sides to prevent the child from getting out. Jack leaned over, raised his right hand, the one holding the knife, and he aimed for the chest …
床的四周装有高高的板条围栏,以防孩子爬出来。杰克弯下身子,举起握刀的右手,瞄准孩子的胸膛……

… and then he lowered his hand. The shape in the crib was a teddy bear. There was no child.
……然后,他把手放了下来。躺在婴儿床中的是个玩具泰迪熊。没有孩子。

The man Jack’s eyes were accustomed to12) the dim moonlight, so he had no desire to turn on an electric light. And light was not that important, after all. He had other skills.
杰克的双眼已经适应了这影影绰绰的月光,所以他并不想把电灯打开。毕竟,光对他来说没那么重要,他还有别的办法。

The man Jack sniffed the air. He ignored the scents that had come into the room with him, dismissed13) the scents that he could safely ignore, honed in14) on the smell of the thing he had come to find. He could smell the child: a milky smell, like chocolate chip cookies, and the sour tang15) of a wet, disposable16), nighttime diaper17). He could smell the baby shampoo in its hair, and something small and rubbery—a toy, he thought, and then, no, something to suck—that the child had been carrying.
杰克嗅了一下空气。他忽略掉那些随他一起飘进屋内的种种气味,也不去理会那些他有把握可以排除在外的气味,而是将全部精力集中在他此行目标的气味上。他能闻到那孩子的气味:有股奶味,像是巧克力曲奇的味道,还有一种湿漉漉的、一次性夜用尿布的刺鼻酸味。他能闻到孩子的头发所散发出的婴儿香波的味道,还能闻到一种橡胶做的小东西的味道——他猜想那是个玩具,哦,不,是可以吮吸的什么东西——是那孩子一直携带的东西。

The child had been here. It was here no longer. The man Jack followed his nose down the stairs through the middle of the tall, thin house. He inspected the bathroom, the kitchen, the airing cupboard18), and, finally, the downstairs hall, in which there was nothing to be seen but the family’s bicycles, a pile of empty shopping bags, a fallen diaper, and the stray19) tendrils20) of fog that had insinuated21) themselves into the hall from the open door to the street.
孩子之前曾在这里,可是现在却不在了。杰克跟着自己的嗅觉下了楼,从这所高大狭长的房子的中部穿过。他检查了一下洗手间、厨房、烘衣柜,最后又查看了一下楼下的门厅,发现这里除了这家的自行车、一叠空购物袋、一片掉在地上的尿布和由沿街那扇门蜿蜒飘入门厅的几缕薄雾以外,什么也没有。

The man Jack made a small noise then, a grunt that contained in it both frustration and also satisfaction. He slipped the knife into its sheath22) in the inside pocket of his long coat, and he stepped out into the street. There was moonlight, and there were streetlights, but the fog stifled23) everything, muted24) light and muffled25) sound and made the night shadowy and treacherous26). He looked down the hill towards the light of the closed shops, then up the street, where the last high houses wound up the hill on their way to the darkness of the old graveyard.
于是杰克发出了一点声响,那咕哝声里既有懊恼,也有满意。他把刀子插回装在大衣内口袋里的刀鞘中,走到外面的街上。月光依旧,街灯未熄,可雾气却让一切都窒息,它让光线微弱,让声音沉闷,让这个夜晚变得幽暗而充满危险。他俯视山下,朝已经停止营业的商店里的光亮处望去,然后又抬头看向街道高处。在那里,最后几座高地房屋沿山路蜿蜒而上,通向古老坟场的黑暗之地。

The man Jack sniffed27) the air. Then, without hurrying, he began to walk up the hill.
杰克嗅了嗅空气,而后从容地朝山上走去。

1. blade [bleɪd] n. (区别于刀柄的)刀身,刀片
2. razor [ˈreɪzə(r)] n. 剃刀
3. wisp [wɪsp] n. 缕;小把,束
4. slither [ˈslɪðə(r)] vi. (蜿蜒地)滑行
5. twine [twaɪn] vi. 蜿蜒延伸;(蛇)蜿蜒爬行
6. Jack: 这里的“杰克”不是特指男人的名字,而是其身份。他属于一个名为“the Jacks of All Trades”的古老兄弟会组织,里面的所有成员都叫杰克。
7. toddler [ˈtɒdlə(r)] n. 学步的儿童
8. lambskin [ˈlæmskɪn] n. 羔羊皮
9. crib [krɪb] n. 婴儿床
10. torso [ˈtɔː(r)səʊ] n. 人体的躯干
11. slatted [ˈslætɪd] adj. 装有板条的
12. be accustomed to: 适应于,习惯于。accustom [əˈkʌstəm] vt. 使习惯于
13. dismiss [dɪsˈmɪs] vt. (从头脑中)去除;不再考虑
14. hone in: 集中注意力,关注
15. tang [tæŋ] n. 强烈的味道
16. disposable [dɪˈspəʊzəb(ə)l] adj. 一次性的
17. diaper [ˈdaɪəpə(r)] n. (婴儿的)尿布
18. airing cupboard: 烘衣柜,一种内置供暖系统的大型壁橱,用于存放衣物,可防潮,也可烘干衣物。
19. stray [streɪ] adj. 孤立的,零星的
20. tendril [ˈtendrəl] n. 卷须状物
21. insinuate [ɪnˈsɪnjueɪt] vt. [~ oneself] 使迂回地潜入(或挤入) (into)
22. sheath [ʃiːθ] n. (刀、剑等的)鞘
23. stifle [ˈstaɪf(ə)l] vt. 扼杀,抑止
24. mute [mjuːt] vt. 使(颜色、光线等)柔和,使不耀眼
25. muffle [ˈmʌf(ə)l] vt. 使(声音)低沉(或轻微)
26. treacherous [ˈtretʃərəs] adj. 危险的,变化莫测的
27. sniff [snɪf] vt. 嗅,闻

赏析

幽暗之夜,朦胧之月。神秘的杀手,失踪的婴孩。薄雾背后的故事影影绰绰,若隐若现,仿若这幽深而又迷蒙的夜晚,神秘莫测,让人难抑好奇。

只是一个开头而已,就让人如此着迷。那个杀手让你想到了《名侦探柯南》里的凶手行凶时千年不变的神秘黑影,那个孩子让你想到了同样是幼年失去双亲的哈利·波特……这会是灵异版的侦探故事吗?还是悬疑版的孤儿复仇记?

贪玩的婴孩闯入后山的坟场,无意中逃过了一场预谋已久的暗杀。一夜之间,亲人皆失。沦为孤儿的他被善良的幽灵欧文斯夫妇(the Owens)收养,并获得了骑着高大“灰马”的、亲切和蔼的灰衣女子(死神)的允许,成了坟场中唯一的活人居民。欧文斯夫妇为孩子取名“诺伯蒂·欧文斯(Nobody Owens)”,昵称“伯蒂(Bod)”。是的,他谁也不是,只是Nobody——消失于活人世界,隐匿于幽灵之中。

伯蒂的童年奇异怪诞、令人称羡,却又普通如常、引人共鸣。他与坟场里永远不会长大的孩子们玩耍,听那里不知年岁几何的先辈们讲历史故事,在阳光明媚的日子里把碑铭当学习资料抄写,还带着偶然结识的人间女孩斯卡利特一起去阴森恐怖的古墓里探险。他有身为幽灵的父母、老师和朋友,有时刻想要取他性命的神秘组织为仇敌,有两名世间最正义的荣誉卫士——独行者(吸血鬼)和上帝之犬(狼人)作为保护人,还认识了据说很邪恶的女巫。他曾被狡猾贪婪的食尸鬼抓到腐烂如地狱般的世界,也曾用自己的勇敢正直之心吓退了守护古墓的神秘怪物“杀戮者”,还有幸参与了活人与幽灵之间一年一度的盛会“骷髅舞”,甚至与死神一起翩翩起舞。他学会了各种各样的魔法——隐身术、滑行术、梦游术和恐怖大法,还用它们对付学校里的坏孩子和贪婪自私的商人……但是,他也同普通的孩子一样,善良纯真,对世界充满了好奇心,也渴望亲情友情,害怕被冷落。因敬爱的保护人塞拉斯的离开,他负气出走被食尸鬼骗离坟场;为了给女巫莉萨立一个墓碑了却她的心愿,他偷了古墓的物品拿到当铺却让自己身陷险境;为了替学校里受欺负的孩子们伸张正义,他把自己暴露于众人的关注之下,失去了来之不易的上学机会……他虽身处这般离奇的世界,却拥有那样真实的情感,让人不由觉得,儿时的自己或许也曾在这般玄妙瑰丽的天地里真切地生活过。这便是尼尔·盖曼所创造的世界,神秘、怪诞、玄奇、多变,却不乏细腻的情感与淡淡的温馨。

就是在这样的世界里,伯蒂慢慢地长大了。当他再次与儿时的玩伴斯卡利特相遇时,等待他的不仅仅是朦胧的爱情带来的欢欣,更是不断靠近的致命的危险。无所不在的杀手通过斯卡利特知道了伯蒂的身份,随着又一轮诱捕与追杀、反击与复仇的开始,隐藏了许久的秘密终于要解开了。究竟为什么杰克们要对伯蒂一家赶尽杀绝,都13年过去了依然不肯放弃?而伯蒂又是怎样用自己的智慧打赢了复仇的战争?原来,杰克所在的组织在很久以前就得到预言:一个行走在活人与死者世界之间的人会将它毁灭。历代的杰克们用尽各种手段,花了千年的时光找到了伯蒂一家,并残忍地将他们杀害。可惜,有着扭曲而恶毒心灵的杰克们并不明白,正是他们的执着与疯狂埋葬了自己的一切。聪明的伯蒂利用所学的知识和坟场的神秘之地,分别将追杀他的三个杰克诱入食尸鬼之门、葬入杀戮者之腹。而其余的杰克们也在伯蒂看不到的地方被他的两位保护人消灭。

也许因为生死终有别,也许因为自己的使命已完成,长大的伯蒂慢慢开始看不到幽灵的样子,听不到幽灵的声音。他终将要离开自己成长的地方,走向世界,走向生活,如羽翼丰满的鸟儿离开父母的庇护,背起行囊,独自走天涯。虽然坟场就像他的家,虽然终有一天他会回到这里,但在此之前,他还需要经历生活的旅程。他将会重逢老朋友、结识新朋友,他将会犯错,会成长,会获得属于他的最奇妙、最惊险、最美好、最悲伤的人生体验。他知道,那将是他独一无二的宝贵财富。