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情牵漂流信 I Found a Message in a Bottle(2)


  Still, that could have been the end of the affair. Liebreich might have dried her tears, regained her rhythm and only occasionally thought of the woman whose story had shaken her. Instead, she set out to find her. “I wanted to know how Maurice had died; I wanted to know what his mother was like; I wanted to know whether I could track the origin of an unsigned letter in a bottle. I wanted the writer to know that the bottle had been found on an English shore and that I had read her letter. I wanted to reassure myself that she was all right.” She explains in the book she subsequently wrote about the search.

  “Sending a letter in a bottle invites a stranger to pick it up and read it,” Liebreich told herself. “I think the unknown mother wanted the tale of her love for her son, the 8)knowledge of his death and her despair, to be known.” The only things she knew for sure, however, were Maurice's first name and the age at which he died. And she soon discovered that much of this knowledge was useless, with France recording deaths not in one central register but in 36,000 local ones. Over the next few years, Liebreich consulted newspapers, bottle-makers, sailors, psychologists, private detectives, even 9)clairvoyants and 10)tarot readers. “The letter would not leave me in peace,” Liebreich writes. “But each time I considered giving up I thought I would make one more effort—one more email, one more phone call, one more visit to the library. The answer might be round the next corner.”
  “用漂流瓶送出一封信就是有意让陌生人捡起来一读究竟,”里布瑞奇如此跟自己说,“我认为这位不知名的母亲想要别人知道她对儿子的爱、他的离去以及她的绝望。”虽然如此,可她唯一能确定的只有莫里斯这个名字,以及他去世时的年龄。接着,她很快便发现这些信息是无用的,因为法国的人口死亡记录并无中央登记案册,而是分布在36000个当地登记处。接下来的几年里,里布瑞奇遍寻报纸、瓶子制造商、海员、心理学家、私人侦探,甚至请教有“千里眼”特异功能的人士和塔罗牌读牌师。“这封信让我无法平静下来,” 里布瑞奇写道,“每当我想要放弃的时候,我就会想到再做一次努力——再写一封邮件,再打一个电话,再去一次图书馆。答案也许就在下一个拐角处。”

  It took her six months to realise that perhaps Maurice hadn't drowned at all, and the letter's “water”, “harbour”, “vessel” and so on were nothing but metaphors. It never occurred to her that his death “at the dawn of summer” might have referred to his age rather than the calendar. After three years, Liebreich decided enough was enough. If she couldn't find Maurice's mother, she could at least write about the search. “If, somewhere, the letter-writer is alive,” her book concludes, “then perhaps this book can serve as a 11)clumsy ‘letter-in-a-bottle' reply…I wonder if she will receive my message.”

  She did. In 2009, three years after The Letter in the Bottle came out in Britain, the nameless “she” got in touch to say she felt violated. As she put it, it was as though her story, her suffering, her very intimate being no longer belonged to her. By then, the book had been published in French, to huge media coverage. “In Britain the story was seen as a failed quest,” Liebreich recalls. “In France it was an unsolvedmystery.” Years before, she had struggled to interest the media; now she was worried that Maurice's mother would be 12)outed by a friend or neighbour. Instead, the mother contacted Liebreich via the psychologist Olivier Roussela. She might be willing to talk to Liebreich directly, but she needed time.
  她收到了。2009年,《瓶中信》一书在英国出版的三年后,那个无名的“她”联系了里布瑞奇,称其感到隐私受到了侵犯。据她所述,她觉得似乎自己的故事、痛苦挣扎、私人感受不再属于她自己了。那时,书本已经用法语出版,并且有许多媒体报道了此事。“在英国,这个故事被认为是一次失败的寻找,” 里布瑞奇回忆道,“但是在法国,则是一个未解开的谜团。”多年前,她尽力去吸引媒体的注意;而现在,她担心莫里斯的妈妈会被朋友或者邻居搜索出来。相反地,这位母亲通过心理学家奥利维尔·罗塞尔联系上了里布瑞奇。她或许会愿意与里布瑞奇直接对话,但她需要时间。

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