Green Island_Shawna Yang Ryan

2016 Jun. 2 17

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picture from KNOPF

Green Island

Shawna Yang Ryan

Knopf

We are curious creatures, we Taiwanese. Orphans. Eventually, orphans must choose their own names and write their own stories. The beauty of orphanhood is the blank slate.

昨天晚上看這本看到凌晨三點,闔上書之後又在床上翻了好久才睡著。我想Green Island對所有台灣人來說都會是一本非常震撼的書,它不但用如詩一般的美麗文字揭開那些從來不被提起的歷史傷疤,更帶起了很多複雜的情緒。

小說從二二八開始說起,主角恰好在當天出生,成長的過程中,她經歷了父親的失蹤、回家,遠嫁至美國,卻始終無法擺脫國民黨高壓政權的政治迫害。這是一個關於家庭,關於國家、認同養成和歷史的故事。

Green Island是一本非常有親切感的小說,除了收錄大量史實如二二八事件、白色恐怖、林宅血案、陳文成事件…之外,更融入了台灣本地用語及口號。從Dua Hyan(我看了半本才發現是台語)、阿姨、ㄇㄟㄇㄟ等稱謂到「時代創造青年,青年創造時代」、「消滅共匪,保密防諜」都可以在書裡看到,更別提飛狗巴士、(當時還叫)中正機場和夜市撈金魚了,只能說,作者雖然是美國華僑,但在塑造故事背景方面真的下了很大功夫,做足了功課。讀著讀著驕傲感油然而生,很想拿給身旁的外國朋友,告訴他們,這是我們台灣。

文字是另一個值得一提的點。部落格開到現在也一年半了,讀過的歷史小說屈指可數,或許因為歷史一直是我國高中時期最不喜歡也不拿手的科目之一(當然再討厭還有數學在前面擋著),歷史小說始終不是我喜歡的文類,似乎一定要有什麼特殊之處才能吸引到我(像是古騰堡的學徒裡,閱讀和書籍的元素;娃娃屋的神祕感等等)。這本Green Island不僅描述發生在台灣這片土地上的故事,讓我覺得一切和我息息相關,更用非常溫柔、細膩的文字敘述這些原本應該冷硬的歷史事實。作者柔軟的筆觸也很適合這個心碎的故事,氛圍營造讓得非常成功,整本書有一氣呵成之感。

不過我最喜歡的還是這本書大大打開我的視野的部份,看完有一種民智頓開的感覺。先說,儘管我很努力地想要保持政治中立,但抱歉我真的沒辦法。這本書讓我激動、憤慨、悲傷各種情緒交雜在一塊,不到400頁的故事不曉得哭了多少次,卻不知道自己究竟是被氣哭還是單純因為難過而哭。

跟幫派份子合作的政黨竟然有臉繼續領導台灣人民?殺人無數且以不人道手段對付異議份子,這樣的人我們竟然以偉人形象包裝教給孩子?作者把隨時都有可能「被失蹤」的不安感描寫得非常真實,隔著文字也能感受到緊張的氣氛。那是一個人人自危的年代,好難想像真正生活在那個時候,日子會是什麼樣子。

我在深藍家庭長大,小時候對政治的概念完全來自家庭,直到上了大學離開台北,跟來自台灣甚至是世界各地的人交流,才終於看到事情的另一面。在看這本書之前,我知道國民黨做了一些見不得人的事,但細節並不清楚,這本書才終於讓我看清楚很多事情的始末。

我想說的不是國民黨有多邪惡,我們一定要搞垮他們,我希望的只是政府能把真相攤在陽光下,把決斷權還給人民。

扯遠了,回到這本書,我喜歡它不用任何激進的用語,很冷靜、中立地交代這些黑暗的歷史。總之超級超級喜歡這本書,覺得它應該成為所有台灣學生的必讀作品,它不像歷史課本那樣無聊(而且歷史課本根本沒有涵蓋這些事情,扯),因此更能激起讀者對這片土地的好奇和關心。聽說印刻要出中文版,到時候大家一定一定一定要買來看!

更多報導、作者訪談和書評:

Q. and A.: Shawna Yang Ryan on the 1947 Incident That Shaped Taiwan’s Identity

Book review: Green Island

 

什麼樣的讀者會喜歡這本書?
➡️對台灣政治、歷史有興趣的讀者
➡️喜歡漂亮文字的讀者

p.61 The disappearances were an island-wide secret. My father was not the only man who had evaporated. It seemed everyone knew someone, and it was simply unspoken: this way we could not count the missing; we would not know for decades that the dead measured in the tens of thousands.

p.129 In 1947, before the refugees got here, the islanders rose up for their rights. The KMT crushed them. Blood ran in the streets.

p.182 Don’t forget. His words were both an order and a plea.

p.184 At a certain point, the land becomes patchwork.

p.189 In America, I had stopped calling myself “Chinese" and started calling myself “Taiwanese." In America, I had met my first Chinese national and discovered the gulf that separated us, despite the language we held in common.

p.294 The next year, a Carnegie Mellon University professor, Chen Wen-cheng, would die on a trip to Taiwan after a long night of interrogation, leaving behind a young widow and a baby son. In 1984, the KMT would come to California again to wreak vengeance. That time, it would be a US citizen, Henry Liu, shot in his garage in Daly City for an unflattering biography of Chiang Ching-kuo. That murder would make the New York Times. That murder earn a congressional hearing. That murder would finally break open the truth. Until then, Jia Bao was just another dead man.

p.295 He told me that the twin daughters of the recently arrested activist Lin Yi-hsiung had been murdered the day before. […] February 28. Broad daylight. Taipei City. Victims: seven-year-old twin girls and their grandmother. Girls barely older than Emily. Girls who no doubt owned the same kinds of toys: googly-eyed stickers, baby dolls with painted plastic mouths and nylon hair, wasp-waisted Barbies. Girls who sketched the same kinds of rainbow-framed drawings and made the same kind of wishes.

p.375 What is home? I wanted to ask. Haven’t I already come home?

p.376 Not to the dead─that would be too controversial. Like so many memorials of atrocities, it was a monument to peace, a promise to never forget.

p.377 Something had happened here once, but other things had too, and life went on. We have to remind ourselves to remember.

p.381 My father wasn’t executed. He was arrested. He disappeared. He came back, not a saint, but a man. He was angry, sad, on occasion happy. He scolded us, cursed us, loved us as best he could. My mother did the same. Life was not a beautiful thing, not swathed in tulle and glitter, strapped with angel wings. Nothing sublime hid in the pain we found in one March decades ago, a moth that went on and on beyond the boundaries of the calendar. It was more than a commemorative hat or T-shirt, or a picture on a wall in a museum. It was more than a story. It was like this, wasn’t it.

 

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2 comments

  1. […] Green Island 「We are curious creatures, we Taiwanese. Orphans. Eventually, orphans must choose their own names and write their own stories. The beauty of orphanhood is the blank slate.」 年度最震撼非綠島莫屬。以二二八事件為出發點,描述白色恐怖時期人人自危的生活。文字漂亮,情緒飽滿,而且描述台灣本地史實讀起來非常有感。真心覺得是台灣人都得看的一部小說。中文版由印刻出版。 […]

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