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今夏出行,可以携带这7本佳作

Rachel King 2019年05月31日

这几本小说既妙趣横生,又发人深省,涵盖了从当代艺术到人工智能的多个主题,非常适合你出差或放暑假时打包带到行李里。

不论是在机场等待晚点的航班的时候,还是在海边享受阳光沙滩的时候,一本好书总是你消磨时光的好伙伴。一本引人入胜的好书,总能让你身心愉快,让你感觉时间没有被虚度。

这不,我们已经为大家精心准备了一份小说书单,这几本小说既妙趣横生,又发人深省,涵盖了从当代艺术到人工智能的多个主题,非常适合你出差或放暑假时打包带到行李里。希望你阅读愉快,顺祝旅行平安。

《静物》,作者:玛莉亚·哈梅尔

本书去年也被美国女星瑞茜·威瑟斯彭的“你好阳光”读书俱乐部列入了精选书单。这本悬疑小说透过一宗谋杀迷案,讲述了一个(虚构的)洛杉矶的大型博物馆的幕后故事。虽然小说的主线仍然是推理破案,不过作者也花时间阐述了为何女人在艺术和媒体中总是被描绘成一种“静物”——特别是在媒体和普罗大众的想象中,大家历来喜欢把年轻女性当作谋杀案的受害者。(如果你不信的话,请看看Serial播客,再想想著名的“黑色大丽花”案已经有了多少艺术演绎——比如斯嘉丽·约翰逊主演的《艳尸案中案》,连昆汀·塔伦蒂诺即将上映的新片《好莱坞往事》也逃不出这个套路——它讲的就是好莱坞女星莎朗·泰特被杀的故事。)

《机器爱上我》,作者:伊恩·麦克尤恩

这个架空故事的背景,设定在20世纪80年代的伦敦。它给人的感觉有点像电视剧《黑镜》(Black Mirror)中让观众掌控自己的命运的诡异的一集(《Bandersnatch》)。然而随着两个人类(一男一女)和一个男性“人造人”(你可以叫他机器人或者人工智能什么的)陷入一段三角恋,剧情走向变得愈发诡异了。当然,书里涉及到很多伦理问题——问题不仅仅在于爱上两个人,而是在于爱上了一个人工智能——或者是说一个发展出了感情的人造物。

《9个完美陌生人》,作者:莉安·莫里亚提

本书是畅销书《大小谎言》(Big Little Lies)作者的又一力作,故事的背景虽然发生在澳大利亚的一个度假村,实际上把它挪到任何一个瑜珈馆、美容院这种地方也毫不违和。从书名中就可以猜出,故事里肯定有9名来客,不过度假村的经理和员工们也都是有故事的人。书中不时有类似美剧《迷失》(Lost)的闪回,同时又与度假村中当下发生的困境交织,不过这种情况本身也给读者提供了一些愈疗方法。像所有莫里亚提的小说一样,这本书最吸引人的,还是书中人物鲜活的性格和滑稽的写作风格,令人不忍释卷。

《成功湖》,作者:加里·施特恩加特

对于很多美国人来说,看到一本时间线设定在2016年总统大选前后几个月里的书,恐怕是很难有心情读下去的。但如果你看到知名作家加里·施特恩加特的名字,最好还是耐心读下去,因为他的作品从来没有令人失望,他笔下的故事有时会让人感到真实得可怕。本书的主要人物是一个为人不耻的理财顾问巴里·科恩,他与其说是主角,还不如说是个大反派。他的形象让人不由联想起纽约金融界和2008年金融危机中的很多著名人物。在书中,科恩为了逃避美国证券交易委员会的调查(要说为什么被调查,那就是剧透了),只得坐巴士穿越整个美国进行逃亡(一路上只能付现金)。白人男性的特权在他身上体现得淋漓尽致。他的表现经常令人失望,书中的其他角色也是这样认为的(当然,这些配角们本身也并非多么讨喜)。然而在作者笔下,科恩这样一个人物依然有其人性的一面,只不过这些时候转瞬即逝,因为总体上,科恩不值得任何人的同情。另一个不值得同情,但更有人性的角色,是科恩的妻子希玛,她是一个自学成才的专业人士,也是在政治上站在她丈夫对立面的第一代美国人。通过她,读者才能真正明白,很多像她一样的人,为了获得财富——特别是为了在纽约市获得财富,要付出什么样的代价。与此同时,她还要在这种代价与她的原生移民家庭之间达到平衡。

《莱斯》,作者:安德鲁·肖恩·格里尔

本书荣获2018年度普利策小说奖,本书讲述了一个小说家的故事,书中并没有人被杀(除非我真的忽略了什么),然而故事的真相却直到最后一页才被揭晓。如果你喜欢一边旅行,一边阅读跟旅行有关的书籍,这本书再适合你不过了。你可以跟着主人公的脚步,从纽约旅行到墨西哥城、意大利、摩洛哥,最后再到日本。在阅读本书的时候,你的思绪也会跟着主角——即将年满50岁的亚瑟·莱斯(他从第一页到最后一页一直想着自己50岁生日的事),为他的遗憾和失败所烦恼。不过格里尔不会一直让他的主人公如此消沉,导致读者对他失去希望的。你会不由自主地觉得,莱斯虽然是在逃跑,但他却是在迎着某个我们任何人都无法看到的东西,直到我们到达那里时才能知道它是什么。

《像我一样的骗子》,作者,芭芭拉·布兰

6月18日上架

在《我死了再吃》(I’ll Eat When I’m Dead)一书中,作者芭芭拉·布兰用有趣的笔触尖锐批评了时尚界的奇葩生态,这次她又携《像我一样的骗子》卷土重来。本书依然以当代艺术界为背景(这次故事发生在纽约),主角是一位年轻的艺术家,企图在没有人把她当一回事的世界里打拼出一片天地——各行各业的女性估计都会对这一点有共鸣。剧情当然是要怎么虐怎么来——主角遭遇了一堆惨事,比如一把大火烧毁了她的房子和她所有的作品。大概是生怕她不够惨,她居然还得去解决另一个年轻艺术家的死因。除了探案推理的因素,书中还探索了艺术行业的许多内幕,比如很多贫穷的年轻艺术家来到大城市讨生活,梦想有朝一鸣惊人,结果却只是被富商玩弄和剥削。而这些富人们则依旧过着奢侈糜烂的生活,同时维系着常人永远无法逾越的贫富差距。

《胭脂》,作者:理查德·克什鲍姆

6月25日上架

《胭脂》这个名字起得恰如其分。故事讲述了20世纪20年代,在当时美国社会总体较为压抑的社会背景下,纽约的三位女性如何促进了现代美容和化妆行业的繁荣发展。故事的主人公是真实的历史人物——伊丽莎白·雅顿和西西·洛佩兹。雅顿创办了以自己名字命名的美容帝国,西西·洛佩兹是一名混血,她创办了美国第一家专为黑人女性推出的直发膏品牌,成为美国历史上第一名女性黑人百万富翁。(当然,这里又发生了谋杀案,毕竟剧情要足够虐才能吸引人看下去。)如果你觉得这个故事很有大片感,说明你很有眼光。好莱坞最知名的女性制片人、《穿普拉达的恶魔》和《阿甘正传》的制片人温蒂·费纳尔曼已经准备翻拍它了。(财富中文网)

译者:朴成奎

Whether it’s hours spent waiting in an airport terminal due to an unexpected (but really, expected) delay or hours under the sun (with sunscreen) on the beach, a good book is a welcome companion. And a page-turner at that is necessary to keep you entertained and pass the time enjoyably.

Thus, here’s a list of fictional works you should consider for packing away while traveling for business or pleasure this summer, both fun and thought-provoking with themes spanning from the contemporary art world to artificial intelligence. Happy reading and safe travels.

Still Lives by Maria Hummel

A very satisfying page-turner and a selection last year for Reese Witherspoon‘s Hello Sunshine book club, Maria Hummel’s murder mystery novel shines a light on the behind-the-scenes workings of a (fictional) major art museum in Los Angeles. While the whodunnit keeps the plot moving, Hummel also takes time to illuminate how women are portrayed as stationary objects (still lives, if you will) in both art and the media—notably through the media and public’s fascination with young women as murder victims throughout history. (If you need more evidence, just look at the Serial podcast, any dramatization about the Black Dahlia, or even Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, once again dredging up the murder of Sharon Tate.)

Machines Like Me by Ian McEwan

With a setting in an “alternative 1980s London,” it already sparks similar feelings to Black Mirror’s wacky choose-your-own-adventure episode “Bandersnatch.” The eerie feelings don’t stop there and only continue through what is a bizarre if not tragic love triangle involving two humans (one male, one female) and a male-gendered “synthetic human.” (A robot, A.I., whatever you want to call it.) Naturally, there a number of questions of morality that come into play, not just about falling in love with two people or beings, but about falling in love with an artificial being—or the artificial being developing feelings itself.

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

The latest work from the highly-successful author of Big Little Lies takes place at a retreat resort that, while set in Australia, could be set at any familiar destination for yoga retreats or juice cleanses, whether it be Ojai or Tulum. As you guessed it, there are a nine guests involved, but you also get the backstory on the resort manager and employees as well, offering Lost-like flashbacks intermixed with the present predicament at the resort, which itself presents some healing methods that read like something you’d read (if not now, at least eventually) in a Goop newsletter. But like all of Moriarty’s novels, what keeps you reading is both her fleshed-out characters and droll writing style that just makes the pages fly by.

Lake Success by Gary Shteyngart

For many Americans, it might be hard to get yourself in the mindset to want to read a book set in the months leading up to and following the 2016 presidential election. In this case, come for the name of brilliant author “Gary Shteyngart” and stay because his work is always entertaining, if not downright scary in just how real it all feel. More of antagonist than protagonist, the book follows disgraced financier Barry Cohen, who seemingly evokes all sorts of notable figures from the New York finance world and the 2008 collapse. Basically on the run from an SEC investigation (to say what for would be a spoiler), Cohen ends upon a Greyhound trip (paid in cash) across America. He’s the definition of white male privilege, and he’s beyond frustrating at times (if not all times), and every other character in the book (most of whom aren’t much likable themselves) feel the same way. And yet, there are moments when Shteyngart demonstrates Cohen, as human as anyone else, does have a heart. Thankfully, these moments are fleeting because frankly Cohen does not deserve anyone’s pity. The other person who does not deserve pity, but does have much more heart, is his wife, Seema, a self-made professional and a first-generation American on the opposite side of the political aisle from her husband. It is through her that the reader really comes to understand the true price many of these people pay when they come into wealth—especially New York City wealth—while trying to balance that with her upbringing and immigrant family.

Less by Andrew Sean Greer

Winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, there is no murder (unless I truly overlooked something) in Andrew Sean Greer’s charming novel about a novelist—but there is a mystery until the very last page. If you’re the type who likes to read about traveling while traveling, this is your opportunity to travel from New York to Mexico City to Italy to Morocco to Japan in a single sitting. Following soon-to-be-turning-50 Arthur Less (who ruminates his looming birthday from the first page to the last), you are stuck inside his head and stuck with his regrets and failures, Greer never leaves his protagonist down so long that the reader loses hope for him. You can’t help but think that Less is simultaneously running away, and yet somehow running toward something that none of us can quite see until we get there.

Fake Like Me by Barbara Bourland

Available June 18

In a follow-up to her wickedly fun but pointed critique of the fashion world in I’ll Eat When I’m Dead, author Barbara Bourland is back with Fake Like Me. Also set in the contemporary art world (this time in New York), the protagonist is a young artist trying to build a life for herself in a world that doesn’t take her seriously—a sentiment shared by women across every industry. Not everything is as immediately relatable (hopefully) as she suffers a number of major setbacks, namely a fire destroying her home and all of her work. And as if that weren’t enough, she sets out on a path to solve—you guessed it—the death of another young artist. Possible murder plot aside, there are a number of inner art industry workings examined here, including how many poor young artists come to the big city with the big art scene, only to be manipulated and exploited by wealthy patrons, living an exorbitant life of luxury while perpetuating a never-ending cycle of income disparity.

Rouge: A Novel of Beauty and Rivalry by Richard Kirshenbaum

Available June 25

Appropriately named Rouge, the story follows three women who catalyze the modern beauty and makeup industry in New York amid the roaring 1920s. in NYC despite the oppressive social standards of 1920s America. Among the historical characters that make appearances and push the plot forward are Elizabeth Arden, founder of her eponymous beauty empire, and CeeCee Lopez, the bi-racial founder of the first African American woman’s hair relaxer business and became the first female African American millionaire. (And yes, there’s a murder plot in there as well. This is a page-turner list, after all.) And if you’re guessing this sounds more like the treatment for a big budget movie, you’re right: Wendy Finerman—one of the top female producers in Hollywood, behind The Devil Wears Prada and Forrest Gump—already optioned it.

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