After Reading Four Feet Under

《Four Feet Under》读后感 HSK 5-6

Finishing reading this book was a long drag. In the beginning, I read it fast, non-stopped, with passion and curiosity. It goes one story by another story, like building up a pyramid somehow. Gradually, I find it harder and harder to get by with all the stories, all the misfortunes for these homeless people in the book. Here is why:

读完整本书花了我很长时间。开始的时候,我读得很快,几乎不停地、带着热情和好奇去读这本书。就是这样,一个故事接着一个故事地读,好像有序地、一块砖一块砖地去建造一座金字塔一般。渐渐地,我发现那一个个故事变得越来越难读下去。书中无家可归的人零零总总、婉转凄楚的故事在作者的笔下变得千篇一律,很可怜,而又似乎不那么重要。

The author started with her own misfortune, related to the selling of her childhood house, which made her thinking of the golden old days that would never come back. Is that what triggered her to write this book? Possibly. I find the “connection” a bit off or reluctant. 

作者把自己的遭遇作为了这本书的开始。她的遭遇与其儿时的房子被卖掉有些关系,因为失去那栋房子而让作者曾经沧海的那些日子无处存放了。这就是她写这本书的起因吗?我却觉得这种“联系”多少有些勉强。

What made it worse was in the very end, when the author stated in a sort of summary about her own interviewing questions with such a self-satisfactory manner-

更糟糕的事,当作者在书的末尾以一种自我满足的语气来总结她自己的采访问题时带给读者的不悦感——

“And I wasn’t, for the most part, trying to challenge people’s views, so if someone said, ‘I have no money but I’m free, I can go where I want,’ I wouldn’t say, ‘But you’re not really free then, are you, because you can’t actually afford to go anywhere,’ because that might have made them feel stupid or belittled. ”

在这里我不想去翻译作者原文,她大概的意思就是——在她漫长的街边采访“岁月”里,她问了很多问题,在问这些问题的时候,作者并没有挑衅被采访的流浪汉的观点。比如,有些无家可归的人会说,他们虽然没有钱,但却获得了前所未有的自由;而作者并没有反驳这样的观点。她自己写道,其实她尽可以反驳这个流浪汉,因为没有钱,就算有所谓的自由也哪儿都去不了。作者沾沾自喜,只因为她没有去反驳,她觉得反驳会让受访者觉得被小看了。

【Excerpt From: Tamsen Courtenay. “Four Feet Under: Untold Stories of Homelessness in London”. Apple Books. 】

In my opinion, these should not be mentioned in such a manner. The author gave very good interviews and she is sympathetic as well, but mentioning this would be to superfluous, and even it looks like she is belittling them. 

然而,在我看来,作者根本就不应该提这个茬。她本来已经完成了非常专业的采访了,很明显,她是一个富有同情心的人,可是这样的自我满足的叙述反而画蛇添足,甚至可以直接导致读者认为她根本就是在小看这些无家可归的人。

The non-fiction book itself is a good idea, especially it was crowdfunded, but it could be so much better when it is well connected to the author’s own reason of writing it, at least not the reasons now in the book.

这本书本身是个很好的想法,尤其是整个众筹的过程,可是,如果这本书能够跟作者的写作动机更好地结合起来,它将更有说服力,或者更让人感同身受,至少不是现在书中所述的原因。

At last, this book successfully let me view this world from the perspective of “Four Feet Under”, and the bleak scene sneaks out from every interview. So do their previous stories. We could say, it is always bad decisions or bad luck, but how we view them, those people sitting and sleeping on the icy street should be altered. 

最后,这本书还是成功地让我站在了“低人一等”的角度上如同流浪汉一般地看世界,那种酸楚确实从采访的三言两语中流露了出来。他们每个人身后的故事亦然。我们可以说,他们之所以这样总是因为做了错误的决定或者时运不济,但是,我们每一个人怎么看待这些坐在或者睡在冰冷大街上的可怜灵魂终究是可以改变的。