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2015-03-06    来源:yeeyan.org    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

5 books you have to read before heading to America

1. Jack Kerouac, On the Road

Published in 1957, Kerouac’s masterpiece captured the voice of America’s ‘Beat Generation’, an iconoclastic group of writers that sprung up in the post-war US as a reaction against mainstream social values: materialism, capitalist accumulation, passive acceptance of religious and ethical codes. On the Road describes the whistle-stop travels of Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty. The story is enriched by the clarity of Kerouac’s spontaneous prose, yet has resounded with young readers to this day for its underlying values of exploration, experimentalism, and the (ultimately fruitless) search for true value in life.
凯鲁亚克在1957年出版的这部杰作发出了美国“垮掉的一代”的声音,这一派作家的思想有悖于传统信仰,在二战后的美国迅速崛起,反应了对战后祖国主流价值观,即物质主义、资本积累、对宗教和道德准则的被动接受等的抗议。《在路上》描绘了萨尔(Sal Paradise)与狄安(Dean Moriarty)的美国之行。凯鲁亚克的散文自然真切,也因为故事内在的价值观——探索、尝试、(虽说最后没有成功却)不断寻找生命的真实意义等——一直引起年轻读者的共鸣。

2. John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath

Arguably Nobel Prize-winning American writer John Steinbeck’s greatest work, The Grapes of Wrath follows the fortunes of the Joads, a family of Oklahoman farmers forced to flee their Dust Bowl home during the Great Depression. On the road to California, they encounter hunger, poverty, abandonment, and exploitation, yet also great generosity, sacrifice, maturity, and finally rebirth. Upon publication, the novel’s accessible prose and sensitivity to the plight of America’s labouring poor both resonated with the country’s working classes and aroused the ire of some of Steinbeck’s contemporaries. A true paean to the power of the human spirit, it is studied in high school English classrooms to this day.

3. Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Simultaneously a thrilling piece of travel literature and a philosophical treatise, Robert M. Pirsig’s 1974 novel Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance traces the author’s bike trip from Minnesota to California. Interspersed with vivid sweeps of the American prairies, each chapter also chronicles a series of philosophical discussions as a father recovering from electroconvulsive therapy gradually tries to reconcile his own worldviews with those of the people around him and liberation from a materialist spiritual vacuum. Drawing on both the Western and Eastern philosophical canon, this challenging read ultimately serves as a platform for Pirsig to introduce his own Metaphysics of Quality.

4. Alice Walker, The Color Purple

Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning epistolary novel The Color Purple won huge acclaim for its sensitive exploration of the lives of African-American women in America’s Deep South during the 1930s. Set in rural Georgia, Celie, the novel’s protagonist, suffers immense abuse and victimisation as a black girl growing up in a racially segregated community. Later, her meeting with Shug Avery, a glitzy singer and magic-maker, helps Celie push back against the repressive society around her and take charge of her own destiny.
由爱丽丝·沃克所著,曾获普利策文学奖的书信体小说《紫色姐妹花》,因其对30年代居住于美国南方腹地的非裔美国女性生活的感性探讨,备受称赞。故事发生于乔治亚州的乡村地区,当时因种族隔离制度,小说的黑人女主角西丽(Celie)在成长过程中遭受了大量的虐待和迫害。后来,她认识了一位耀眼的歌手兼魔术师阿弗利(Shug Avery),由此开始抵抗这个压抑的社会并主动掌握自己的命运。

5. Philip K. Dick, The Man in the High Castle

A novel of diffuse influences and phenomenal imaginative power, Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle challenged the foundations of American exceptionalism. Dick postulates an alternate ending to the Second World War, one which witnessed the defeat of the Allies, the conquest of the American continent by the Japanese Empire and Nazi Germany, and the subsequent Cold War ‘fought’ between the two new Axis Powers. Suffused with East Asian philosophy, and featuring passages written in stunning Japanese-English creole, the book explores the veracity of the reality we live in, how we negotiate ‘true’ or ‘fake’ identities in the face of persecution, and how much true ‘value’ can be derived from any sense of national pride.

【原文来源:kandongsee.com 作者:MATT WALSH 翻译来源:yeeyan.org 译者:看东西_KanDongSee】

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