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假如希拉里没有嫁给克林顿……

Hillary Never Married Bill
假如希拉里没有嫁给克林顿……

Curtis Sittenfeld likes to imagine the sex lives of presidents.

克蒂丝·希坦菲(Curtis Sittenfeld)喜欢想象总统们的性生活。

She did it in “American Wife,” a best seller whose protagonist, Alice Blackwell, stands in for Laura Bush and falls hard for the character modeled on George W. in part because of his exertions between the sheets.

她在畅销书《美国妻子》(American Wife)中就是这样做的,书中代表劳拉·布什的主人公爱丽丝·布莱克韦尔对以乔治·W为原型的人一见钟情,部分是因为他的床上功夫了得。

She does it again in “Rodham,” her new novel, to be published on May 19. I won’t soon forget the scene in which Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham distract themselves while driving through Arkansas in a way that redefines “joy ride.”

希坦菲在将于5月19日出版的新小说《罗德姆》(Rodham)一书中再次这样做。我不会很快忘记书中比尔·克林顿和希拉里·罗德姆开车穿越阿肯色州时让自己分心的情节,可以说这个情节重新定义了“危险驾驶”。
 

“Please don’t get pulled over,” Hillary cautions him.

“小心点,别让警察逮着,”希拉里警告比尔。

Did this happen? Who knows? The fascination of the first third of “Rodham” is its weave of history and hypothesis as it chronicles the initial meeting of Bill and Hillary at Yale Law School, their courtship and her migration to Arkansas when he makes an unsuccessful run for Congress. Embellished details are grafted onto established events.

这事儿真的发生过吗?谁知道呢?《罗德姆》前三分之一的魅力在于历史与假想的交织,书中记述了比尔和希拉里在耶鲁大学法学院初次相遇、恋爱,以及比尔竞选国会议员失败时希拉里搬到阿肯色州。添枝加叶的细节成为众所周知的事情的一部分。

The fascination of the rest of “Rodham” is its whole-cloth divergence from the record. Sittenfeld’s novel asks: What if Hillary and Bill hadn’t married? What if her professional arc had been entirely her own?

《罗德姆》其余部分的魅力在于其完全偏离历史记录的编织。希坦菲的小说提出了这样的问题:如果希拉里没有与比尔结婚,会怎么样?如果她的职业人生完全是她自己的,会怎么样?

It’s an ingenious conceit, because it gets to the central paradox of real-life Hillary, the initial reason she became such a mesmerizing, polarizing, meta-cultural Rorschach. She’s a feminist trailblazer who first arrived at stratospheric celebrity because of her husband and was perceived and analyzed largely in terms of her relationship with him. She’s a voice for equal opportunity who kept biting her tongue. Bill indisputably lifted her up; he unequivocally dragged her down.

这种别出心裁很新颖,因为它触及了现实生活中希拉里的核心矛盾,也就是她成为一个如此吸引人、使意见两极分化、后设文化(meta-cultural)检验标准的最初原因。她是一位因为丈夫而首次获得了极高知名度的女权主义开路先锋,人们对她的评价和分析主要是在她与丈夫的关系方面。她是忍着不发声的机会平等代言人。比尔毫无疑问提升了她;他也毫不含糊地把她拖下水。

In Sittenfeld’s novel, she and Bill break up around the time the actual couple got engaged. They’ll intersect anew, but I’d be spoiling “Rodham” to explain how, why and with what result. I’d be encroaching on reviewers’ turf to say whether I found the story believable.

在希坦菲的小说中,希拉里和比尔在他们实际订婚的日子前后分了手。他们的人生轨迹将重新交叉,但我不能告诉你那是如何发生的,否则就透露了《罗德姆》的情节。我也不告诉你,我是否觉得这个故事可信,那样做是侵犯评论家的地盘。

But I’m on firm columnist ground to note the aptness of this book’s appearance now, mid-pandemic, in a season of what-ifs. What if President Trump, early on, had taken more assertive action to contain the coronavirus’s spread? What if someone else were at the helm?

但是,指出这本书在目前、在大流行病之中、在一个充满了“要是……会怎么样”的季节出现的恰当性,作为专栏作家我站得住脚。要是特朗普总统在初期就采取了更坚决的遏制新冠病毒蔓延的行动,会怎么样?要是别的人是领导人,会怎么样?

What would Hillary have done?

希拉里会怎么做?

“I think it’s hard for that thought not to cross one’s mind,” Sittenfeld told me in a recent interview. “When you look at charts showing how many deaths there have been per capita in the U.S. versus other countries, and it’s the same pandemic everywhere, it does seem like there are circumstances or decisions or leadership that affect it.”

“我觉得,很难让这种想法不出现在人们的脑子里,”希坦菲在不久前的一次采访中对我说。“当你看到美国和其他国家相对人口而言的死亡人数图表时,到处都是同样的大流行病,美国的数字的确看来受到环境、决策或领导力的影响。”

I’ll be less decorous. Hillary obviously would have managed this pandemic better, because Trump could hardly have managed it worse.

我不会这么客气。希拉里毫无疑问会更好地应对这场疫情,因为特朗普几乎不可能做得更糟。

I’ve had an email relationship with Sittenfeld since 2008, when she sent me a copy of “American Wife” just prior to its publication and let me know that my reporting on George W. Bush’s 2000 presidential campaign and on his and Laura’s personalities and backgrounds had informed her work. It’s a terrific book, but I’m obviously biased. I read it and thought, “Yes, yes, that’s Laura Bush. If we could see inside, that’s what we’d discover.”

自2008年以来,我一直与希坦菲有电邮联系。她那年在《美国妻子》出版前让我先睹为快,让我知道我对乔治·W·布什2000年总统竞选所做的报道,以及对他的和劳拉的性格和背景的描述,影响了她的写作。这是一本很棒的小说,但我显然存有偏见。我一边读一边想,“对,对,那就是劳拉·布什。如果我们能看到内心世界的话,那就是我们会发现的东西。”

“Rodham” has a different emphasis. While “American Wife” struck me as narrowly focused political archaeology — an excavation of one woman’s character — “Rodham” is wide-ranging political anthropology, concerned not so much with what makes Hillary tick as it is with the culture around her and how she might have shaped events, and been shaped by them, if the pieces of reality’s jigsaw were rearranged just so.

《罗德姆》的重点不同。《美国妻子》给我的印象是仅聚焦于政治考古,是对一名女性性格的挖掘,而《罗德姆》则是覆盖面广的政治人类学,书中关心的与其说是什么东西使希拉里那样做,不如说是围绕着她的文化,以及如果现实的拼图可以重新拼贴的话,她会如何塑造事件,并被它们塑造。

It’s stippled with clever mischief along those lines. I don’t think I’m giving away too much — though you should stop right here if you’re worried — to say that the “60 Minutes” interview in which Bill addressed questions about infidelity, Hillary’s “I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies” remark, Vince Foster’s suicide, George Stephanopoulos’s disaffection, the sudden rise of Barack Obama and the chants of “Lock her up!” are all present and accounted for. But they occur in altered form and contexts, with new consequences.

书中点缀着与这些线索有关的聪明胡闹。如果你担心我透露太多内容,就别再往下读,但我觉得说出下面这些不算透露太多:比尔在《60分钟》节目的采访中论证不忠问题,希拉里的“我好像觉得我本来可以呆在家里烤曲奇”的言论,文斯·福斯特(Vince Foster)的自杀,乔治·斯特凡诺普洛斯(George Stephanopoulos)的不满,贝拉克·奥巴马(Barack Obama)的突然崛起,以及“把她关起来!”的大喊都在书中都有提及。但它们出现的形式和背景都不同,因此有了新的后果。

Maybe the difference between “American Wife” and “Rodham” — both narrated by their heroines — stems from Hillary’s inscrutability. I asked Sittenfeld who was harder to inhabit: Laura or Hillary.

《美国妻子》和《罗德姆》用的都是书中主人公自述的形式,也许这两本书的不同之处源于希拉里的难以捉摸。我问希坦菲,更难置身于哪位主人公:劳拉还是希拉里。

“It took me a while to be able to hear Hillary’s voice in my own head,” she said. She did a deep dive into all that’s been written about and by Hillary, but noted that much of the journalism rehashes the same old tropes and that Hillary has kept a tightly drawn curtain over her heart and soul. Her memoirs aren’t exactly intimate.

“我花了一段时间才能够在自己的脑子里听到希拉里的声音,”她说。她对别人写的关于希拉里的东西、以及希拉里自己写的所有东西都进行了深入挖掘,但她注意到,很多新闻报道都是在老调重弹,而希拉里对自己心灵深处的东西秘而不宣。她的回忆录没有透露多少隐私。

So Sittenfeld had to will herself into Hillary’s perspective. “I felt like I put on a pantsuit and a blond wig,” she said.

所以,希坦菲不得不竭力让自己处于希拉里的角度。“我就像是穿上了长裤套装,戴上了金色假发,”她说。

I mentioned her fixation on first ladies and asked whether there might be Michelle Obama and Melania Trump novels to come. No, she said, suggesting that Michelle’s 2018 memoir, “Becoming,” was so openhearted and definitive that it didn’t leave much room for a novelist.

我指出了她的第一夫人情结,并问她是否会写以米歇尔·奥巴马(Michelle Obama)和梅拉尼娅·特朗普(Melania Trump)为主角的小说。她说不会,并暗示米歇尔2018年出版的回忆录《成为》(Becoming)如此诚恳和完整可靠,以至于没给小说家留下多少空间。

And Melania? Sittenfeld declined to say much about the current first lady to me, but she previously told The Guardian that she didn’t “see her as someone whose consciousness I yearn to explore.” Sittenfeld’s method of working is to enter a world where she’s content to spend considerable time and where she can nurture sympathy, even admiration, for her subject. Both the Laura analogue in “American Wife” and Hillary in “Rodham” are indisputably sympathetic figures.

梅拉尼娅呢?希坦菲拒绝向我透露太多她对现任第一夫人的看法,但她此前曾告诉英国《卫报》,她“不把梅拉尼娅看作是我渴望探索其内心世界的人”。希坦菲的写作方法是进入一个她愿意在其中花大量时间的世界,让她在其中培养对笔下主人公的同情,甚至钦佩。《美国妻子》中与劳拉相似的主角,以及《罗德姆》中的希拉里都毫无疑问是令人同情的人物。

In any case, Sittenfeld said, “I feel like my interest in Hillary Clinton is not as a first lady, it’s as the first female major party nominee for president. So, to me, she is not defined by her relationship to Bill.” The novel essentially formalizes that position — and then builds on it.

不管怎样,希坦菲说,“我觉得,我对希拉里·克林顿的兴趣不在于她是第一夫人,而在于她是第一个由主要政党提名的女性总统候选人。所以,对我来说,她不是由她与比尔的关系定义的。”这部小说的本质是正式确定这一立场,并在这个基础上展开。

For decades I’ve listened to Hillary’s detractors opine that if she hadn’t hitched her wagon to Bill’s, she wouldn’t have traveled so far. But the reverse could be truer. At one point in the book, a woman who works with Hillary tells her, “It’s weird you almost married Bill Clinton because he seems so unworthy of you.”

几十年来,我一直听见希拉里的批评者们说,如果没搭上比尔的车,她不会走这么远。但相反的情况可能更对。书中某个时刻,一位与希拉里共事的女士对她说:“真奇怪,你差点嫁给了比尔·克林顿,因为他似乎配不上你。”

I asked Sittenfeld if, after playing with the notion that Hillary went her own way, she’s surprised that the real Hillary said, “I do.”

我问希坦菲,在巧妙利用了希拉里走自己的路的想法之后,她是否对现实生活中的希拉里说出了“我愿意”感到惊讶。

“No!” Sittenfeld responded. “Actually, the opposite.” Noting that as part of her research, she read the first quarter of Bill’s 1,000-page autobiography, “My Life,” which covers everything up until the Clintons’ marriage, she said: “I felt myself falling in love with Bill Clinton. And I consciously thought, ‘If it were 1975 and Bill Clinton wanted me to move to Arkansas and marry him, I would do it.’”

“不!”希坦菲回答道。“其实正相反。”她指出,作为研究工作的一部分,她读了比尔·克林顿1000页长的自传《我的生活》(My Life)的前四分之一,这部分包括了克林顿夫妇结婚前的所有事情。她说,“我感觉我自己也爱上了比尔·克林顿。我有意地想,‘如果那是1975年,比尔·克林顿想让我搬到阿肯色州和他结婚的话,我会那样做。’”

“If you look at pictures from their wedding, they have these dreamy expressions on their faces and he’s very handsome and she’s very pretty and I believe that they genuinely fell in love,” Sittenfeld said. “I believe they were attracted to each other.”

“如果你看到他们婚礼上的照片,他们脸上都带着梦幻般的表情。比尔非常英俊,希拉里非常漂亮。我相信他们真的相爱,”希坦菲说。“我相信他们彼此相互吸引。”

“Believe,” “believe” — there’s a crucial humility in those words, a recognition of all the supposition that comes into play with so many public figures. Somewhere along the way, we develop fixed ideas about who they are, and then we take the accuracy of that assessment for granted, confusing their ubiquity in our lives with a true understanding of them. We mistake their smoke signals for blazing revelations.

“相信”、“相信”——这是这些话中的一种关键性的谦逊,一种对巧妙利用这么多公众人物而做的所有推测的承认。在公众人物生涯的某个时刻,我们形成了他们是什么样的人的固定看法,然后,我们把这种看法的准确性视为理所当然,把他们在我们生活中的无处不在与对他们的真正了解混淆起来。我们误把他们展示在外的东西当成赤诚的内心披露。

But smoke signals are all we really have, and we read those from a distance. Certainly we journalists do. There are whole facets of public figures’ humanity — of the Clintons’ humanity — that we don’t have access to and can’t explore. But a novelist can, so Sittenfeld did. Indulging in guesswork, she visited interiors and rummaged around in intimacies that are otherwise off limits.

但我们看到的只是外表,而且是从远处看到的。当然,我们这些记者只能这样。公众人物的人性——克林顿夫妇的人性——的很多方面我们无法接触,也无从探索。但小说家可以,希坦菲就这样做了。她可以尽情地猜测、探索内心,在外人不能去的私密之地翻来找去。

“Falling in love and kissing another person — that’s what you read novels for, and that’s what you write novels for,” she said. “I certainly read a lot of nonfiction and respect it, but even the most personal profile of a public figure is not going to have almost anything about them kissing or feeling attracted to someone or maybe having sex and feeling awkward.”

“爱上他人,与他人亲吻——这是读小说的人想看的东西,也是写小说的人想写的东西,”希坦菲说。“我当然读过很多非小说类作品,也很尊重这些作品,但即使是公众人物最私密的传略,也不会有任何关于他们接吻或对他人有好感,或者可能发生性关系并感到尴尬的内容。”

In other words the sex in “Rodham” isn’t just about sex. It’s about mystery and misperception, and it speaks to a hypothetical even bigger than Hillary’s parting of company with Bill. What if we’ve never really known her at all?

换句话说,《罗德姆》中的性不止于性。它也是关于神秘和误解,它比希拉里与比尔分手更具假设性。要是我们从未真正了解她,会怎么样?
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