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2005年NPR美国国家公共电台八月-An Epic Tale of 'Desertion'

时间:2007-07-18 01:44来源:互联网 提供网友:atm009e   字体: [ ]
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Desertion is the title of a new novel by Zanzibar-born writer Abdulrazak Gurnah. It opens in 1899 along the East African Coast. Alan Cheuse has a review.

A white stranger, sick and wounded, staggers into a small East African town. A local shop owner named Hassanali demonstrates his piety1 by taking the man in and having his family care for him, while the news goes out to the British authorities in the region that one of their own has turned up nearly dead. Before a British colonial official arrives at Hassanali's house to claim him, the injured man, a writer and traveler named Martin Pearce, falls madly in love with Hassanali's sister Rehana, with a kind of disbelief at the astonishing beauty of her eyes, and the delicate movements of her face. Having been abandoned by her first and only husband, Rehana is as taken with Pearce as he is with her, and goes against all customs in this conservative Muslim region, running off with the man to set up a household in Mombasa.

What would have made an Englishman of his background--- university, colonial official, a scholar, begin something like that with the sister of a shopkeeper in a small town on the East African Coast?

This comes from the narrator, from whom the question lies at the heart of a family and I suppose you have to call it an anthropological2 and possibly a national mystery. We encounter the narrator himself many pages later after he described yet another love affair. This one between the granddaughter of Rehana, the lovely and creamy-skinned Jamila, and a local Muslim fellow much younger than she.

That second romance catapults the book forward in time, but also establishes our narrator's interest in these matters as a personal inquiry3 into the nature of love, race and empire. Fortunately for him and the reader, the exiled Zanzibarian eventually sees clearly enough through the smoke of race and ideology4 to make this twin love story into a subtle and yet compelling commentary on the fortunes and disasters of colonial history.

The book is "Desertion" by Abdulrazak Gurnah. Our reviewer Alan Cheuse teaches writing at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.


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1 piety muuy3     
n.虔诚,虔敬
参考例句:
  • They were drawn to the church not by piety but by curiosity.他们去教堂不是出于虔诚而是出于好奇。
  • Experience makes us see an enormous difference between piety and goodness.经验使我们看到虔诚与善意之间有着巨大的区别。
2 anthropological anthropological     
adj.人类学的
参考例句:
  • These facts of responsibility are an anthropological datums- varied and multiform. 这些道德事实是一种人类学资料——性质不同,形式各异。 来自哲学部分
  • It is the most difficult of all anthropological data on which to "draw" the old Negro. 在所有的人类学资料中,最困难的事莫过于“刻划”古代的黑人。 来自辞典例句
3 inquiry nbgzF     
n.打听,询问,调查,查问
参考例句:
  • Many parents have been pressing for an inquiry into the problem.许多家长迫切要求调查这个问题。
  • The field of inquiry has narrowed down to five persons.调查的范围已经缩小到只剩5个人了。
4 ideology Scfzg     
n.意识形态,(政治或社会的)思想意识
参考例句:
  • The ideology has great influence in the world.这种思想体系在世界上有很大的影响。
  • The ideal is to strike a medium between ideology and inspiration.我的理想是在意识思想和灵感鼓动之间找到一个折衷。
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TAG标签:   npr  公共电台  desertion
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