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更新时间:2017-12-2 12:24:57 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

The 10 Best Books of 2017

The year’s best books, selected by the editors of The New York Times Book Review.






By Ali Smith

阿里·史密斯(Ali Smith)著

The extraordinary friendship of an elderly songwriter and the precocious child of his single-parent neighbor is at the heart of this novel that darts back and forth through the decades, from the 1960s to the era of Brexit. The first in a projected four-volume series, it’s a moving exploration of the intricacies of the imagination, a sly teasing-out of a host of big ideas and small revelations, all hovering around a timeless quandary: how to observe, how to be.




Exit West

《退出西方》(Exit West)

By Mohsin Hamid

穆辛·哈米德(Mohsin Hamid)著

A deceptively simple conceit turns a timely novel about a couple fleeing a civil war into a profound meditation on the psychology of exile. Magic doors separate the known calamities of the old world from the unknown perils of the new, as the migrants learn how to adjust to an improvisatory existence. Hamid has written a novel that fuses the real with the surreal — perhaps the most faithful way to convey the tremulous political fault lines of our interconnected planet.






By Min Jin Lee

李敏金(Min Jin Lee,音)著

Lee’s stunning novel, her second, chronicles four generations of an ethnic Korean family, first in Japanese-occupied Korea in the early 20th century, then in Japan itself from the years before World War II to the late 1980s. Exploring central concerns of identity, homeland and belonging, the book announces its ambitions right from the opening sentence: “History has failed us, but no matter.” Lee suggests that behind the facades of wildly different people lie countless private desires, hopes and miseries, if we have the patience and compassion to look and listen.




The Power

《力量》(The Power)

By Naomi Alderman

娜奥米·奥尔德曼(Naomi Alderman)著

Alderman imagines our present moment — our history, our wars, our politics — complicated by the sudden manifestation of a lethal “electrostatic power” in women that upends gender dynamics across the globe. It’s a riveting story, told in fittingly electric language, that explores how power corrupts everyone: those new to it and those resisting its loss. Provocatively, Alderman suggests that history’s horrors are inescapable — that there will always be abuses of power, that the arc of the universe doesn’t bend toward justice so much as inscribe a circle away from it. “Transfers of power, of course, are rarely smooth,” one character observes.




Sing, Unburied, Sing

《唱歌,尸魔,唱歌》(Sing Unburied Sing)

By Jesmyn Ward

杰丝明·沃德(Jesmyn Ward)著

In her follow-up to “Salvage the Bones,” Ward returns to the fictional town of Bois Sauvage, Miss., and the stories of ordinary people who would be easy to classify dismissively into categories like “rural poor,” “drug-dependent,” “products of the criminal justice system.” Instead Ward gives us Jojo, a 13-year-old, and a road trip that he and his little sister take with his drug-addicted black mother to pick up their white father from prison. And there is nothing small about their existences. Their story feels mythic, both encompassing the ghosts of the past and touching on all the racial and social dynamics of the South as they course through this one fractured family. Ward’s greatest feat here is achieving a level of empathy that is all too often impossible to muster in real life, but that is genuine and inevitable in the hands of a writer of such lyric imagination.

继上一部小说《拯救遗骨》(Salvage the Bones)之后,沃德再度回到虚构的小镇——密西西比州的布瓦苏韦奇。讲述那些容易被归类为“农村穷人”、“药物依赖者”、“刑事司法系统的产物”的普通人的故事。她为我们带来的主人公是13岁的卓卓,吸毒的黑人母亲带着他和他的妹妹做了一场公路旅行,去接他们入狱的白人父亲。他们的生存非常艰难。他们的故事感觉很神秘,既有来自过去的幽灵,也涉及南方所有的种族与社会状态,它们全都在这个破碎的家庭中奔涌而过。沃德在小说中营造这种程度的共情,是现实生活中往往无法达到的,然而在这样一位充满诗意想象的作家笔下又显得那样真诚而自然,这是本书最大的成就。



The Evolution of Beauty: How Darwin’s Forgotten Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Animal World — and Us

《美的进化——达尔文被遗忘的择偶理论如何塑造动物世界乃至我们》(The Evolution of Beauty: How Darwin’s Forgotten Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Animal World — and Us)

By Richard O. Prum

理查德·O·普鲁姆(Richard O. Prum)著

If a science book can be subversive and feminist and change the way we look at our own bodies — but also be mostly about birds — this is it. Prum, an ornithologist, mounts a defense of Darwin’s second, largely overlooked theory of sexual selection. Darwin believed that, in addition to evolving to adapt to the environment, some other force must be at work shaping the species: the aesthetic mating choices made largely by the females. Prum wants subjectivity and the desire for beauty to be part of our understanding of how evolution works. It’s a passionate plea that begins with birds and ends with humans and will help you finally understand, among other things, how in the world we have an animal like the peacock.






By Ron Chernow

罗恩·切尔瑙(Ron Chernow)著

Even those who think they are familiar with Ulysses S. Grant’s career will learn something from Chernow’s fascinating and comprehensive biography, especially about Grant’s often overlooked achievements as president. What is more, at a time of economic inequality reflecting the 19th century’s Gilded Age and a renewed threat from white-supremacy groups, Chernow reminds us that Grant’s courageous example is more valuable than ever, and in this sense, “Grant” is as much a mirror on our own time as a history lesson.

即便是那些自认为通晓尤利西斯·S·格兰特(Ulysses S. Grant)生涯的人,也会从切尔瑙这本精彩且全面的传记中有所收获,尤其是关于格兰特担任总统期间的成就。它们经常被忽略。更重要的是,在令人想起19世纪的镀金时代(Gilded Age)的经济不平等和白人至上团体的威胁死灰复燃的背景下,切尔瑙提醒我们,格兰特勇敢的榜样比以往任何时候都更宝贵,并且从这个角度来说,《格兰特》既是我们这个时代的一面镜子,也是我们的历史经验。



Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America

《把自己人关起来——美国黑人的罪与罚》(Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America)

By James Forman Jr.

小詹姆斯·福尔曼(James Forman Jr.)著

A former public defender in Washington, Forman has written a masterly account of how a generation of black officials, beginning in the 1970s, wrestled with recurring crises of violence and drug use in the nation’s capital. What started out as an effort to assert the value of black lives turned into an embrace of tough-on-crime policies — with devastating consequences for the very communities those officials had promised to represent. Forman argues that dismantling the American system of mass incarceration will require a new understanding of justice, one that emphasizes accountability instead of vengeance.




Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder

《草原之火——劳拉·英戈尔斯·怀尔德的美国梦》(Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder)

By Caroline Fraser

卡罗琳·弗雷泽(Caroline Fraser)著

Fraser’s biography of the author of “Little House on the Prairie” and other beloved books about her childhood during the era of westward migration captures the details of a life — and an improbable, iconic literary career — that has been expertly veiled by fiction. Exhaustively researched and passionately written, this book refreshes and revitalizes our understanding of Western American history, giving space to the stories of Native Americans displaced from the tribal lands by white settlers like the Ingalls family as well as to the travails of homesteaders, farmers and everyone else who rushed to the West to extract its often elusive riches. Ending with a savvy analysis of the 20th-century turn toward right-wing politics taken by Wilder and her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, Fraser offers a remarkably wide-angle view of how national myths are shaped.

这本传记的主人公的作品包括《草原小屋》(Little House on the Prairie)和其他一些回忆作者在西迁时期的童年生活的作品。弗雷泽捕捉到了这位作家被虚构作品巧妙掩盖的生活,和一段不可思议的标志性文学生涯的细节。本书做了全面的研究,字里行间洋溢着热情,刷新了我们对美国西部历史的理解,也为讲述其他人的故事提供了空间,这其中有英戈尔斯家这样将美国原住民从部落领地赶走的白人定居者,也有公地开垦者、农场主和其他所有冲着这里难以捉摸的财富而来的人。结尾处,弗雷泽对怀尔德和女儿罗丝·怀尔德·莱恩(Rose Wilder Lane)在20世纪转向右翼政治进行了颇有见地的分析,为思考国家神话是如何形成的提供了一个非常广阔的角度。





By Patricia Lockwood

帕特丽夏·洛克伍德(Patricia Lockwood)著

In this affectionate and very funny memoir, Lockwood weaves the story of her family — including her Roman Catholic priest father, who received a special dispensation from the Vatican — with her own coming-of-age, and the crisis that later led her and her husband to live temporarily under her parents’ rectory roof. She also brings to bear her gifts as a poet, mixing the sacred and profane in a voice that’s wonderfully grounded and authentic. This book proves Lockwood to be a formidably gifted writer who can do pretty much anything she pleases.