《长河》:村庄里的人,以一种宁静大美的心态迎接着死亡

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  《长河》:村庄里的人,以一种宁静大美的心态迎接着死亡

  马金莲丨《长河》

  推荐理由

  《长河》被誉为当代的《呼兰河传》,在2013年年度中篇小说写作中脱颖而出。作者马金莲是中国宁夏西吉人,一个有着虔诚信仰的回族作家。人们习惯把西吉、海原和固原这片土地统称为西海固。西海固是个很神奇的地方,缺水,自然环境恶劣,但信仰的力量却让人们的内心异常强大。

  同《呼兰河传》一样,作者用小女孩的视角,讲述了中国西北一个回族村庄里四个关于死亡的故事,情节如清风般自然地展开,浑然天成,故事线索却是深埋在岁月和记忆的皱褶里的,跟随着心灵走。《长河》虽然讲述死亡,但是却不煽情、不苦情,小女孩的视角也为作品的叙述增加了纯真,并且淡化了苦涩。

  小说中回族人物特有的认命、忍耐、顺服等品质也使苦难有了崇高的意味,构成了作品独特的精神风貌。不难从小说中体会到人间的温情,回族村庄的团结互爱,人心向善淳朴都是令我们动容的。除此之外,小说中还展现了许多不广为人知的回民生活细节,在穆斯林葬礼上,人们为亡者洗身,村中阿訇为逝者念经,而举办葬礼的人家要散海底耶给参加葬礼的大人和孩子们······不同的习俗让我们在感到新奇的同时,也带给我们自身信仰的反思。

  作者马金莲认为死亡不只有痛苦和恐惧,还蕴含着高贵、美好、宁静乃至更多的内涵。在时间的长河里,生命的个体就是一粒粒微小的尘埃,但是尘埃在消失瞬间定有它独特的光泽。因之,《长河》的视角便是从此岸生命的无常看彼岸灵魂的安宁,同时又从彼岸那无言的大美中看此岸的人间悲欢······能抵达这样的精神境界,仰仗的更是信仰的力量。

  Reviews

  Long River has been praised as the modern Tales of Hulan River, now an established classic published in 1940 by the female writer Xiao Hong. The novella indeed stands out among other works published in 2013 to distinguish Ma Jinlian as a formidable writer. As a native of Xiji, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, Ma Jinlian is a devout Muslim. People often like to refer to the three geographical regions of Xiji, Haiyuan, and Guyuan simply as Xihaigu. It is a curious region, where the population endures water shortage and poor natural environments with the help of their unusually strong faith.

  Like in Tales of Hulan River, Long River uses a little girl’s perspective to narrate four stories of life and death that occurred in a Hui village in Northwest China. The story is told from memories buried deep in the wrinkles of time, and these memories flow out to the tune of the young girl’s heart. Although Long River discusses death, it is neither miserable nor sympathy seeking. The use of the little narrator’s perspective adds sincerity and dilutes agony.

  The Hui people depicted within the work have very distinctive qualities that, in some respects, make it seem as if they worship suffering. They resign themselves to their fate, endure, and submit. Such characters imbue the work with a unique style. The story makes it easy for readers to understand and experience the tenderness of humanity as displayed in the solidarity of love within the Hui village. It can move the reader with its sentiments that emanate benevolence, simplicity, and honesty. Additionally, the novella reveals many widely unknown details about the Hui lifestyle. For example, the work shows how the body of the deceased is cleansed during a Muslim funeral, how an Akhoond recites scripture for the deceased, and how the host family gives rations of money to all the adults and children who attend. Different customs may bring us novelty, while all the while they cause us to rethink what we believe in.

  The author Ma Jinlian does not only view death as dreadful and full of suffering. Instead, she also considers it rich with implications of nobility, beauty, and tranquility. In the long river of time, a single life represents merely a miniscule grain of dust, but at the moment this dust fades away it leaves its own unique luster. As a result, the perspective of Long River is grounded on one shore of this river. Impermanent lives occupy the side of the river from which the story looks out to the tranquility of spirits on the other side. At the same time, it gazes out at the sorrows and joys of the human realm from the silent beauty of the other shore. To experience the world from such a state of consciousness requires a great power of faith.

  作家简介

  Author Profile

  《长河》:村庄里的人,以一种宁静大美的心态迎接着死亡

  马金莲,女,回族,1982年生于宁夏西海固。经历颇为坎坷,先后做过农民、雇佣中学教师、正式小学校教师、乡镇干部。早年生活艰难,一边拉扯孩子、操持家务、种地,一边悄悄从事写作,没有电脑,用手写在旧笔记本上,再修改在稿纸上然后邮寄。后考为正式教师,生活写作环境大有改观。

  2000年开始文学创作,十余年来一直坚持,生性沉默、讷言,喜欢一个人安安静静地读书、思考、写作,有“宁夏的小石舒清”之称。先后创作大量中短篇小说。曾在《六盘山》《回族文学》《黄河文学》《朔方》《民族文学》《作品》《十月》《散文诗》《芒种》《花城》《飞天》《天涯》等杂志发表作品九十余万字,部分作品入选《小说月报》《小说选刊》《新华文摘》《北京文学·中篇小说月报》《中华文学选刊》《作品与争鸣》以及各种年度选本。

  中篇小说《长河》获2013年度中篇小说评选第一名,被誉为当代《呼兰河传》。出版有中短篇小说作品集《父亲的雪》《碎媳妇》。中篇小说《长河》获《民族文学》年度奖、2013年度中篇小说评选第一名,被誉为“当代《呼兰河传》”,长篇小说《马兰花开》获第十三届精神文明建设"五个一工程"奖。2014年,马金莲获首届“茅盾文学新人奖”。

  Ma Jinlian is a female writer of the Hui ethnic group who was born in Xihaigu area, Ningxia Autonomous Region, in 1982. The Hui people are a predominately Muslim ethnic group in China. Her life experiences can be described as anything but smooth. She started off as a farmer and was then hired as a middle school teacher. She moved on to be an elementary school teacher and then a village official. Her personal life was not easy. On one hand, she was raising a child, taking care of household work and farming, while on the other she quietly worked as a writer. She had no computer and she only wrote in old notebooks by hand. She repeatedly modified her drafts before mailing them off. Eventually, she passed the examination to become an official teacher and her living environment changed drastically.

  In 2000, she began producing literature and has since continued for over ten years. Her natural disposition being taciturn and reticent, she has revealed that she enjoys quietly reading, thinking, and writing. Her works have been published in more than 10 prominent magazines including October, Fiction Monthly and Xinhua Digest, and some have been selected for various yearly anthologies.

  Her novella Long River won first place in the yearly review of novellas published in the year 2013. Regarded as important as a novel published in 1940 by another female writer, which is now an established classic, Long River won the yearly award by the magazine Ethnic Literature, and her novel Iris Blooms won the thirteenth “the Best Works Award”. In 2014, Ma Jinlian won the first Mao Dun Young Author Literary Award.

  中文概要

  Synopsis

  《长河》讲述了西海固一个回族村庄的四个关于死亡的故事。

  在一个晴朗的秋日,我和母亲正在厨房炕边剥玉米棒子,哭声从伊哈家的院子飞出来,二十九岁的伊哈在打井的时候出意外死了。孩子们没有像往常送埋体的时候拿到海底耶,伊哈家已经是家徒四壁,在邻居的帮助下,伊哈才能躺在新毡上入土,较为体面地下葬。半年后,伊哈的媳妇改嫁到川道里一户光景不错的人家,剩下了伊哈的三个娃娃和两个年迈的老人。伊哈媳妇刚改嫁时还偶尔回来看看孩子,自从有了身孕后就再也没来过,伊哈家的儿子一天比一天可怜,在邻里的帮助下,弟兄三个度过了漫长的寒冬。十几年后,伊哈的大儿子长大成人娶了新媳妇,在媳妇口中才知道自己的母亲早年出意外死了,伊哈的儿子大哭起来。

  田寡妇带着患有先天性心脏病的女儿素福叶改嫁给了上庄的光棍麻雀,素福叶话很少,生的清瘦美丽,和我们这群“土猴子”都不一样。大人们警告我们对待素福叶要小心谨慎,因为这孩子稍不留意可能就没了命,医生说她活不过12岁。马云会的大儿子去相亲的路上车翻人亡,素福叶在送埋体的时候哭了起来,他想起来自己被蹦蹦车碰坏的父亲,也害怕自己孤单地睡在黑糊糊的坟坑里,因为素福叶,我第一次对死亡有了悲伤之感。春天的时候,素福叶提出想和我一起上山玩耍,我们一起在山洼上不断地走,寻找马兰花,我们甚至为了找到马兰花是拿回去还是插到头上争执起来,争辩的口渴起来我们去找泉水,素福叶嘤了一声没再说话,双手痉挛着在胸口胡乱抓扯,素福叶心脏病突发死了。

  我的母亲一年四季下不了炕,今年以来,母亲的变化越来越大,一双腿完全失去知觉,病情加重的同时脾气也越来越糟,尤其对父亲总是无故发脾气,但是父亲显得沉稳而麻木,总是承受着一切。母亲的脾气时好时坏,极不稳定,她时常趴在枕头上抹泪,病恶化地厉害,到后来跌打丸也不吃了,全都扔在地下,饭量也越来越少,父亲忙过了秋收用驴车拉着母亲和我们去县城里给母亲看病,回来的路上,母亲困恹恹的,没心思听我讲沿途的风景。父亲要变卖粮食牛羊带母亲去更大一点的医院看病,母亲坚决不同意,腊月二十七,又下了一层厚厚得雪,母亲病故了。姐姐说,母亲的坟和素福叶的坟挨着,仿佛一对母女,我心里忽然觉得不是滋味,羡慕甚至是嫉妒素福叶可以陪伴母亲。

  冬天又来了,穆萨老爷爷无常了,即使大雪封路,葬礼一点也不冷清。大伙儿都来了,穆萨老爷爷活了九十一岁,经历了中国农村的各种变革,在村中德高望重。五八年“社教”的时候,柯家老阿訇在劳动改造中不堪凌辱上吊自杀,尸体被丢在烂窑里,再不收尸就会被野狗吃掉。年轻时候的穆萨顶着风头一户户敲马家人的门,劝说大家收回老阿訇的尸体,一行年轻人历经艰难险阻收回老阿訇的尸体,柯家老阿訇最终入土为安。饥荒时期,穆萨在自家人饿肚子的时刻还救助柯家老小半口袋粮食,而自己三岁的儿子死于饥饿。后来,穆萨爷爷不嫌弃柯家孙子家境贫寒,将自己的小女儿嫁给他。在穆萨的葬礼上,柯家人坚持出一半抬埋费,给大人孩子散了丰厚的海底耶,我用这钱买了麦板塘,一口气全都吃完了,嘴里的甜蜜存留了好久。

  Long River recounts four stories of life and death that occurred in a Hui village of Xihaigu.

  On a clear and sunny autumn day, my mother and I were beside the kang peeling corncobs when the sound of crying drifted in from the courtyard of Yiha’s home. Yiha, 29 years old, had unexpectedly died while working on a well. When it was time for the funeral, his children did not have adequate funds. Yiha’s family was already extremely poor, but with the help of their neighbors he was able to have a decent burial. A half year later, Yiha’s wife remarried to a family of good circumstances in Chuandao. His three children and parents were left over. Shortly after Yiha’s wife remarried, she would occasionally come back to see the children. But once she became pregnant with her new husband, she never came back again. Yiha’s children became more pitiful with each passing day. With the help of their neighbors, Yiha’s three sons were able to make it through long winters. A dozen years later, Yiha’s eldest son married, and it was from the wife that he learned of his mother’s accidental and premature death several years before. With this news, Yiha’s eldest son wailed with tears.

  The widow Ms. Tian took her daughter Su Fuye, who had contracted a congenital heart disease, and married off to the village bachelor Maque. Su Fuye said little and grew to be thin and beautiful. She was different from us "dirt monkeys." Grownups warned us to treat Su Fuye very cautiously and carefully, because if the child was even the least bit careless, then her life would end. The doctor had said she wouldn’t live past 12.

  One day, when Ma Yunhui’s eldest son was on his way to an arranged date, a car flipped over and he was killed. Su Fuye cried when he was being buried. She had remembered how her father had been badly hit by a three-wheel truck. She was afraid of herself sleeping in a dark and dusky grave one day. The first time I felt sadness over death was because of Su Fuye. In the spring, Su Fuye suggested we go and climb a mountain for fun. So we walked, seemingly forever, in a depression of a mountain. We wanted to find an Iris flower. We argued over whether we should take the flower back or cut it out to stick in our hair. The arguing made us thirsty, so we went to find a spring. It was then that Su Fuye let out a sudden gasp. This was the last noise she would make. Both her hands jerked to grab at her chest. She had suddenly died from her heart disease.

  Throughout the year, my mother couldn’t get up from her kang. That year it got worse; she completely lost feeling in both her legs. As the disease got worse, so did her temper, especially toward my father, but he seemed calm and apathetic to this – he always shouldered it all. My mother’s temper would go from good to bad. It was extremely variable. Sometimes, she would lie on her stomach wiping away tears. As the disease worsened, she refused to take her pills. She threw all of them on the floor, and she ate less and less. So after my father finished the autumn harvest he used a donkey cart to carry my mother and us into county town so a doctor could have a look at her. On the way home, my mother was weak and weary. She had no interest in listening to me describe the scenery. Father wanted to sell off livestock and grains to take mother to a bigger hospital, but mother firmly rejected the notion. On the 27th day of the 12th lunar month, there was a heavy snowfall and mother died of her illness. My older sister mentioned how mother’s grave was close to Su Fuye’s; it seemed that they were mother and daughter. Upon hearing this, I suddenly felt disgusted. I was envious and jealous of the notion that Su Fuye could accompany my mother.

  Winter came around again. Mu Sa the old man passed away. Even though snow was blocking the roads, the burial was still well attended. Everybody showed up. Mu Sa had lived for 91 years and had experienced all kinds of transformations in China’s rural areas. He had become a person of virtue and prestige in the village. During the “social education” in 1958, the Akhoond surnamed Ke was endlessly insulted at the reeducation labor camp and he chose to commit suicide by hanging himself. His body was thrown into an old pit. To keep it from being eaten up by dogs, young Mu Sa risked of being “educated” himself and went door-to-door urging people to go and collect the body. A party of youths experienced untold dangers and difficulties collecting the body, and the Akhoond was finally able to have a respectful burial. During the famine, when Mu Sa’s own family were starving, he still provided the Ke family with half of a small sack of grain. His own three-year-old son died of starvation that year. Later, Mu Sa did not avoid the impoverished state of the Ke family’s son and married him his daughter. During Mu Sa’s funeral, the Ke family insisted upon paying half of the burial costs. They also gave away a generous gift of money. I used this money to buy a stick of sweet oats that I ate up immediately. It left behind a flavor of sweetness on my lips that lingered for a long time.