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天堂 – Paradise by Abdulrazak Gurnah

故事发生在百年前处于德国殖民阴影下的东非桑给巴尔,这片多种文明交融、多种宗教并存的古老土地。男孩优素福被父亲抵押给商人阿齐兹偿债,从此跟随商队行走异乡,亲历生存之难。他困惑于他成长仪式上的领路人阿齐兹的阴阳莫测;他好奇于被深锁在花园背后的疯女人的泣泣私语;他痴迷于旅途中那座火焰墙般的巍峨悬崖,它仿若天堂之门,令他天眼开启:是忍辱偷生,守着方寸店铺变成一个小掌柜,还是在残酷的世界中变得像铁一样结实,去找寻有花园和喷泉,更有自由与尊严的穷人的天堂?

《天堂》发表于1994年,是古尔纳的代表作之一。作者借少年未经世事、不加滤镜的视角,将一个男孩的成长故事嵌于社会动荡、历史变迁的大背景中,通过书写一代移民的前生,来“努力保存那种记忆,找回人们赖以生活,并以此认知自我的那些时刻与故事”。

Shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the Whitbread Award, Paradise was characterized by the Nobel Prize committee as Abdulrazak Gurnah’s “breakthrough” work. It is at once the chronicle of an African boy’s coming-of-age, a tragic love story, and a tale of the corruption of African tradition by European colonialism.

Sold by his father in repayment of a debt, twelve-year-old Yusuf is thrown from his simple rural life into complexities of pre-colonial urban East Africa. Through Yusuf’s eyes, Gurnah depicts communities at war, trading safaris gone awry, and the universal trials of adolescence. The result is what Publishers Weekly calls a “vibrant” and “powerful” work that “evokes the Edenic natural beauty of a continent on the verge of full-scale imperialist takeover.”

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