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作者:Mark Hadden
出版社:Doubleday
中譯本:深夜小狗神祕習題,大塊文化出版

● 英國國家劇院熱門舞台劇故事原著
● 出版即登上暢銷書排行榜冠軍,獲得十七項獎項,包括極具聲望的惠特布瑞文學獎(Whitbread Prize)
● 至今仍是英美中學指定閱讀書單

預估閱讀時間:02:05
文章難度: ★★☆☆☆

It is seven minutes after midnight. Fifteen-year-old Christopher finds out that the pet dog next door was killed with a garden fork. He decides to conduct an investigation and write a book about this. The readers will soon realize that Christopher is a bit different. Being mathematically gifted, he likes logic and order. He is able to differentiate happiness and sadness, but not more complicated emotions. It’s not hard to figure that he has autism. Can he walk out of his small safe world (to the grocery store at the corner of the street the furthest) and find out the truth?

凌晨十二點零七分,十五歲少年克里斯多弗發現鄰居的小狗被鐵叉殺害,他決定自己調查,將結果寫成一本書。讀者很快會察覺,克里斯多弗有些不同。他是數學天才,喜歡邏輯、喜歡次序;他能分辨快樂、悲傷,但分辨不出更複雜的情緒。我們猜得到克里斯多弗應該有自閉症。他能夠走出自己安全的小世界(最遠到街角的雜貨店),查出真相嗎?

The novel is in fact the investigation notes of this teenager’s. Through his narration, we co-investigate the murder of the dog, and accidentally find out the secret of the family. We realize that daily operations of this world may overload Christopher. Meanwhile, life, to anyone, is complex and difficult.

這本書就是少年的調查筆記,透過他的自述,我們一同調查小狗謀殺案、意外發現家中的秘密,感受到日常運行世界,可能令克里斯多弗「過載」,也體認到生活對任何人來說,都複雜難解。

We don’t see Christopher as a patient in this book. He has “behavioral problems” —that’s how he describes himself. What you might not know is that the author borrowed “beliefs, habits, quirks and behaviors” from friends and acquaintances and his own family. "Which is only to say that Christopher is not that different from the rest of us. It’s the number and combination of his eccentricities which cause him difficulties,” says the author.

在書中,我們不把克里斯多弗視為病人,他只是如自己所說,有「行為問題」。但你知道嗎,作者其實借用了家人親友的信仰、習慣、怪癖、行為,來刻劃克里斯多弗。「克里斯多弗與我們並沒有那麼不同。只不過他的怪異的數量和組合,造成了困難。」

Each of us has some behavioral problems, and is struggling through the challenges of life. The best gift to the readers from this book, is a little more empathy.

我們每個人都有一點行為問題,也都掙扎闖過生活一關又一關。本書給讀者最好的禮物,是多一點的同理心。


 文/ Nikki Lu

本文收錄於英語島English Island 2019年1月號
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