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经济学人双语人文新闻在线试听:名利赞 Celebration of the vanities

Lily85 于2013-02-17发布 l 已有人浏览
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最好的时代,小说里白手起家的富人一贯浅薄可鄙,倘若穷困潦倒、破败坍台,也不配得到一丝同情。如今当然不是最好的时代。而乔纳森·迪勇气可嘉、坚持立场,写了一对野心勃勃、富有豪阔的机会主义者的婚姻,两人出身低微、聚敛财富,既没有被自身的成功所害,也没有变得不幸。
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Books and Arts; Book Review;New fiction;Celebration of the vanities
文艺;书评;新书出炉;名利赞

The Privileges. By Jonathan Dee.
《高人一等》乔纳森·迪著。

AT THE best of times, the self-made rich are usually held up in fiction as shallow, contemptible and undeserving of sympathy even when their wealth leads to misery and ends in ruin. And these are certainly not the best of times. Yet Jonathan Dee has courageously stuck to his guns in writing a novel about the marriage of a gilded couple of ambitious chancers who not only amass great wealth from humble beginnings, but who are neither damaged nor made wretched by their success.
最好的时代,小说里白手起家的富人一贯浅薄可鄙,倘若穷困潦倒、破败坍台,也不配得到一丝同情。如今当然不是最好的时代。而乔纳森·迪勇气可嘉、坚持立场,写了一对野心勃勃、富有豪阔的机会主义者的婚姻,两人出身低微、聚敛财富,既没有被自身的成功所害,也没有变得不幸。

The story of Adam and Cynthia Morey's life together begins with a bravura description of their wedding in Pittsburgh. Unusually young to get married, it quickly becomes clear that handsomer, smarter and more self-confident than everyone else around them, they are made for one another and already destined to be among life's winners. Adam moves smoothly from investment banking to a small but respected New York private equity firm where he rapidly becomes its capricious founder's protégé, heir apparent and the recipient of ever more inflated bonuses. Meanwhile, Cynthia devotes herself to raising their two young children and encouraging Adam to get on with acquiring the means to give them both the privileged lifestyle and social status she feels is their due.
亚当和辛西娅·莫雷的人生故事,始于两人在匹兹堡举行婚礼的宏大描写。两人结婚时异常年轻,一出场就显得比周遭的人漂亮、聪明、自信,两人是天作之合,注定要成为生活的赢家。亚当顺利地从投资银行转投纽约一家规模虽小却体面的私募股权企业,他迅速化身为多变的公司创始人的得意门生和继任者,接收大额红利。与此同时,辛西娅专心致志地抚养两个幼子,鼓励亚当勇往直前、用尽手段,让两人得到高人一等的生活方式和社会地位,她觉得这是理所应当。

When Adam decides to push things along with a little insider trading, you expect this will be the couple's undoing. But Mr Dee studiously avoids such easy clichés. He presents us with more a celebration of the vanities than a bonfire. Adam regards his risk-taking as noble. When he eventually tells Cynthia how they have become so spectacularly rich so quickly she tells him: “You are a man Adam. You are a man amongst men.”
等到亚当决定为一段内幕交易铤而走险,你以为会这对夫妇会失败没落。但是乔纳森·迪有意不落入这种老套情节。他对我们称颂的是富贵名利而不是熊熊烈火。亚当把自己的风险控制奉若神明。他最终告诉辛西娅,他们如何飞黄腾达,辛西娅马上对他说:“你只是凡人亚当。芸芸众生中凡人一个。”

In many ways, “The Privileges” is an oddity. Chapters often leap ahead by several years without any explanation of what has happened other than hints of the Moreys untroubled progress, for example when it emerges that the family now has a private jet and that staff are employed to help write cheques for the philanthropic causes Cynthia supports. At the end, doubts are raised about the effects of tremendous wealth on the couple's two grown-up children. But otherwise, it is left to the reader's imagination to wonder what impact (if any) the impending financial crash will have on the couple. Lucidly written and with a pitch-perfect ear both for contemporary mores and dialogue, “The Privileges” is entertaining—and morally ambiguous.
从很多方面来看,《高人一等》古怪透顶。各章节常常跳过几年,丝毫不解释情节进展,除了暗示莫雷夫妇一帆风顺的成功,比如说,事实表明,这家人如今有了私人飞机,一班雇员来为辛西娅支持的慈善事业帮忙填写支票。到末了,不免让人怀疑这对夫妇的巨额财富对两个长大成人的孩子有何影响。不过,这要留给诸位读者想象,猜想眼前发生的金融危机对他们有什么冲击。本书写得清晰明了,当代风俗与对话一览无余,《高人一等》足够有趣,道德上却模棱两可。

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