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伦敦塔集雨人

作者:admin 发表于:2016-10-11   点击: 评论: 0

  伦敦塔里的集雨人巴尔萨泽·琼斯开始收集雨水没多久,就分辨出了六十四种雨,并将每一种都记录在案;他还买来成堆的香水瓶保存雨水,记录下雨的时间和日期,以及雨水的确切种类;他去大英图书馆,寻找一切有关雨的记载;他发现了一种不同的雨,这种雨只是1892年在科伦坡下过一次,是世上最罕见的一种雨。最后,一个装满雨水标本的手提袋出现在了伦敦地铁失物招领处的柜台上……

  伴着一丝雨水的气息,故事在琼斯夫妇俩的工作地点——伦敦塔内的动物园和伦敦地铁失物招领处展开了。文中一群有趣的出场人物和他们的故事渐渐勾勒出夫妇俩的生活与情感问题:儿子死后,丈夫一滴眼泪也没流,只是无法控制地收集起雨水并继续塔内的日常工作。这个男人是不是根本不爱儿子,不爱她?作者朱莉娅·斯图亚特(Julia Stuart)以细腻、奇异、幽默的笔调和视角将这对日渐冷漠相对的夫妇带回了彼此身边。

  Standing on the battlements in his pajamas, Balthazar Jones looked out across the Thames where Henry III’s polar bear had once fished for salmon while tied to a rope. The Beefeater failed to notice the cold that pierced his dressing gown with deadly precision, or the wretched damp that crept round his ankles. Placing his frozen hands on the ancient parapet, he tilted back his head and inhaled the night. There it was again.

  The undeniable aroma had fluttered past his capacious nostrils several hours earlier as he lay sleeping in the Tower of London, his home for the last eight years. Assuming such wonderment was an oasis in his usual gruesome dreams, he scratched at the hairs that covered his chest like freshly fallen ash and descended back into ragged slumber. It wasn’t until he rolled onto his side, away from his wife and her souk of competing odours, that he smelt it again. Recognising instantly the exquisite scent of the world’s rarest rainfall, the Beefeater sat bolt upright in the darkness, his eyes open wide like those of a baby bird.

  The sudden movement of the mattress caused his wife to undulate for several seconds like a body drifting at sea, and she muttered something incomprehensible. As she turned away from the disturbance, her pillow fell into the gap between the head of the bed and the wall, one of the many irritations of living within circular walls. Balthazar Jones reached down into the dusty noman’s-land and groped around. After carefully retrieving the pillow, he placed it gently next to his wife so as not to disturb her. As he did so, he wondered, as he often had throughout their marriage, how a woman of such beauty, the embers of which still glowed fiercely in her fifty-fifth year, could look just like her father as she slept. For once, he didn’t feel the urge to poke her awake in order to rid himself of the harrowing illusion of sharing his bed with his Greek father-in-law, a man whose ferocious looks had led his relatives to refer to him as a good cheese in a dog’s skin. Instead, he quickly got out of bed, his heart tight with anticipation. Forgeting his usual gazelle’s step at such times, he crossed the room, his bare heels thudding on the emaciated carpet. He peered out, nose and white beard against the pane, which bore the smudges of numerous previous occasions. The ground was still dry. With mounting desperation, he scanned the night sky for the approaching rain clouds responsible for the undeniable aroma. In his panic not to miss the moment for which he had been waiting for more than two years, he hurried past the vast stone fireplace to the other side of the bedroom. His stomach, still bilious from the previous evening’s hogget, arrived first.

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