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自分が読んで興味深く感じた英文記事を中心に取り上げる予定です

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オバマ大統領も読んでいる本

 


20ドル札に載ることが決まったハリエット・タブマンを以前このブログで取り上げたとき、「Underground Railroadは実際の鉄道ではなく奴隷逃亡支援の地下組織のこと」と書きましたが、もし実際の鉄道だったらという着想で書いた小説がこの夏出版され注目を集めています。



オバマ大統領の夏の読書リストに選ばれ、今週のニューヨークタイムズ書評では書評だけでなく抜粋も紹介されているようです。(ただしデジタル版では抜粋は掲載されていません)辛口書評家ミチコ・カクタニさんも好意的レビューを書いています。

Review: ‘Underground Railroad’ Lays Bare Horrors of Slavery and Its Toxic Legacy
Books of The Times
By MICHIKO KAKUTANI AUG. 2, 2016

In his dynamic new novel, Colson Whitehead takes the Underground Railroad — the loosely interlocking network of black and white activists who helped slaves escape to freedom in the decades before the Civil War — and turns it from a metaphor into an actual train that ferries fugitives northward.

The result is a potent, almost hallucinatory novel that leaves the reader with a devastating understanding of the terrible human costs of slavery. It possesses the chilling, matter-of-fact power of the slave narratives collected by the Federal Writers’ Project in the 1930s, with echoes of Toni Morrison’s “Beloved,” Victor Hugo’s “Les Misérables” and Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man,” and with brush strokes borrowed from Jorge Luis Borges, Franz Kafka and Jonathan Swift.


もちろん着想だけで書いた本ではなくリサーチもしっかりしているそうです。奴隷の体験や語り口についてはWorks Progress Administration (WPA)の調査を参考にしたそうです。

Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1938 contains more than 2,300 first-person accounts of slavery and 500 black-and-white photographs of former slaves. These narratives were collected in the 1930s as part of the Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and assembled and microfilmed in 1941 as the seventeen-volume Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves. This online collection is a joint presentation of the Manuscript and Prints and Photographs Divisions of the Library of Congress and includes more than 200 photographs from the Prints and Photographs Division that are now made available to the public for the first time. Born in Slavery was made possible by a major gift from the Citigroup Foundation.

さらに今週のTIMEにもインタビューが載っていました。

6 Questions for Colson Whitehead, Author of The Underground Railroad
Radhika Jones Aug. 11, 2016

colson-whitehead-underground-railroad
Erik Tanner for TIME
The author of The Underground Railroad, Oprah’s new book-club pick, talks about making fiction from history’s great atrocity.

How did this story come to you?
I was thinking how, when you’re a kid, you think the Underground Railroad is a literal railroad. It was the year 2000. I was finishing up John Henry Days. I didn’t feel like doing another research-heavy book. Slavery is such a huge topic–I didn’t feel up for it emotionally. Every couple of years I would go back to the idea and look at my page of notes and maybe add a line.


若いときにマッカーサー「天才」奨励金をもらったことに触れている部分です。

You were the winner of a MacArthur “genius” grant at a young age. Did it feel like a gift or a burden?
It was great. Obviously genius is in quotes and ironic. But I didn’t have a lot of money. It allowed me to put a down payment on a house. It enabled me to be confident enough to think, Oh, maybe I can start having a family because we’re not going to be starving for five years. And also, it gave me license–you’re on the right path, keep doing it.


最後のit gave me license–you’re on the right path, keep doing itについては資格取得についても言えるのではと思いました。資格で結果が出ている勉強方法には自信を持っていいのではと思います。

いきなりこういう本は厳しいかもしれませんが、自分の嗜好が決まらない人はとりあえず流行しているものに乗っかるのもアリではないでしょうか。早く読み終わってレビューできるといいのですが。。。
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Yuta

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