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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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実力作家の短編小説が読める

 





マリッジ・プロットマリッジ・プロット
(2013/03/08)
ジェフリー ユージェニデス

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ミドルセックスミドルセックス
(2004/03/24)
ジェフリー・ユージェニデス

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ハードルを上げすぎないと書いた後にこんな記事もあれですが、ジェフリー・ユージェニデスの短編小説が今週のニューヨーカーに掲載されていました。iPad/iPhone版には作者自ら朗読した音声がついてきますので、700円で購入しても高くないかもしれません。



一般の人にはソフィアコッポラが監督した映画『ヴァージン・スーサイズ』の原作者と言った方が通りがいいかもしれないジェフリー・ユージェニデスはフランゼンと同じく寡作な作家ですが、どの作品も評価は高いですよね。特に文学・哲学になじみのある方は好きになれるのではないかと思います。個人的にはミドルセックスが大好きです。どの作品も長めなので英語学習者としてはとっつきにくかったのですが、今回は短編小説です。短編と言っても7000字なので、英語学習的には長編ですが(笑)

FICTION
FIND THE BAD GUY
BY JEFFREY EUGENIDES
NOVEMBER 18, 2013

Words checked = [7430]
Words in Oxford 3000™ = [86%]


まあ、小説などはハードルが高くなってしまうので興味がある方だけ読んでくださればいいですが、書き出しの他人の家の匂いが気になるという部分はどの方にも共感を持って読んでいただけるのではと思います。

We’ve owned this house for—what—twelve years now, I reckon. Bought it from an elderly couple, the De Rougemonts, whose aroma you can still detect around the place, in the master especially, and in the home office, where the old buzzard napped on summer days, and a little bit in the kitchen, still.

I remember going into people’s houses as a kid and thinking, Can’t they smell how they smell? Some houses were worse than others. The Pruitts next door had a greasy, chuck-wagon odor, tolerable enough. The Willots, who ran that fencing academy in their rec room, smelled like skunk cabbage. You could never mention the smells to your friends, because they were part of it, too. Was it hygiene? Or was it, you know, glandular, and the way each family smelled had to do with bodily functions deep inside their bodies? The whole thing sort of turned your stomach, the more you thought about it.

Now I live in an old house that probably smells funny to outsiders.

Or used to live. At the present time, I’m in my front yard, hiding out between the stucco wall and the traveller palms.

これに合わせてインタビュー記事がサイトにありました。時間をかけて作品を仕上げる部分のやり取りが印象的だったのでその部分をご紹介します。You want a maximum density of language and you want to leave out everything but the essentials.なんてかっこいいですね。

NOVEMBER 11, 2013
THIS WEEK IN FICTION: JEFFREY EUGENIDES
POSTED BY CRESSIDA LEYSHON

The last piece of yours we published in the magazine was an excerpt from your novel, “The Marriage Plot.” You’ve talked in the past about how long you spend working on your novels. Do you approach short stories in a similar way? What does the form offer you that a novel doesn’t?

It takes me forever to write short stories too! They’re even harder, in a way. I’m working on another story at the moment that has gone through so many iterations that years have passed without my figuring out how to tell it. By contrast, “Find the Bad Guy” got written in a fairly short period for me, about six or eight weeks. I don’t have any firm principles when it comes to writing stories. Sometimes I think that the trick of writing a good story is to compress a novel’s worth of material into a short space. Other times, I think it’s best to present a small passage of time that is somehow representative of an entire life or situation. To keep my short stories properly short, lately I’ve been conceiving of them as poems. Long poems, where stuff happens. You want a maximum density of language and you want to leave out everything but the essentials.

今回の記事でたまたま見つけたのが2012 Whiting Award受賞者への彼のスピーチの記事です。最後の部分をご紹介してしまいますが、時流などに流されず自分らしくあることを何よりも大切にするよう訴えかけているスピーチは小説が好きでない方にも読んでいただきたいものです。

DECEMBER 24, 2012
POSTHUMOUS
POSTED BY JEFFREY EUGENIDES

I’m happy to do it in gratitude for the help the Whiting Foundation has given so many writers, including myself. I don’t remember who made the speech and read the citations my year, as you probably won’t remember me. That’s O.K. Just remember what Doug Fister of the Detroit Tigers said: “Stay within yourself.” And, most of all, don’t forget Nadine Gordimer’s advice. Don’t censor yourself. Don’t go along with the crowd. Don’t be greedy. Don’t be cheap. Young as you are, play dead—so that your eyes will stay open.
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