余華之《活著》書評 A Review of To Live by Yu Hua

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余華的短片小說我念大學時就讀到幾篇了,讀到時候感覺很新鮮——尤其是〈現實一種〉這篇——人物跟敘事者對小說中的血腥行為保持客觀的距離、漠不關心的態度,似乎主角在害他弟弟時也沒有多留意就心被分到光線那邊去。讀了許多年的刻版式的課文的我突然感覺有了活力——原來中文也有不濫情的、現代主義小說。不過,看《活著》看到一半又有一點失望,余華在這個作品中的敘事形式很像寫實主義的那派「傷痕文學」或賽珍珠的《大地》,只是以平民的視野去敘事內戰、文化大革命時期的那段歷史。這當然不見得是不好看,只是我在念高中時看這類型的小說看膩了,例如《野天鵝》、《落葉歸根》等等。

然而到最後(死了很多人之後)又讓我想到史坦貝克之《憤怒的葡萄》悲觀的收場。只是余華似乎跟史坦貝克的意圖不同,到最後富貴還是以正面的態度繼續活著。他那樣地接受所謂的「天意」令人想到台灣新電影的風格,尤其是《戀戀風塵》。

This was a an average but ultimately disappointing read from an author whose short stories promised something more. ‘A Kind of Reality’ had an interesting narrative style, completely unengaged from the tragedy that occurs in the story, To Live, however, seemed derivative of a lot of the scar literature I read as a teenager, like Wild Swans, Life and Death in Shanghai, and Falling leaves return to their roots. Not that these books were bad, it’s just that I expected a more interesting technique from Yu Hua than a more or less straightforward narrative, although Yu Hua distinguishes his story somewhat in being less critical of the Communist Party than other novels in the genre. The almost Job-like persistence of Fu Gui, despite the death of his entire family brought to mind the determinism of the New Taiwanese Film wave, particularly films like Dust in the Wind. Although I identify more with the outlook of Steinbeck at the end of Grapes of Wrath or Hemingway at the end of A Farewell to Arms.

This review was first published on Conor’s blog, visit it here.

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About Conor

I’m Conor. I’m currently working as a translator at an English-language online newspaper in Taiwan after doing a masters in Taiwanese Literature at National Taiwan University. Frances asked me to suggest some books and films that might be useful for everyone to keep up their Chinese and for discussion if anyone is interested in literature. So I’m going to be blogging from time to time and welcome any feedback or comments. You can contact me at conorstuart88 at hotmail dot com.
This entry was posted in Contemporary Culture, Keeping up your Chinese, Member Blogs and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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