書名:The Tenth Circle第十層地獄
作者:Jodi Picoult
出版:Pocket Books(2006年10月24日)

‧The process of growing up was nothing more than figuring out what doors hadn’t yet been slammed in your face.
‧The best relationships between parents and kids … were the ones where both sides went out of their way to make sure the other wasn’t disappointed.
‧Superheroes were born in the minds of people desperate to be rescued.
‧What if love wasn’t the act of finding what you were missing but the give-and-take that made you both match?
‧Just because a person didn’t admit that something had changed didn’t mean it hadn’t happened.
‧Once you admitted to a mistake, it grew exponentially, until there was no way to get it under wraps.
‧(H)ell wasn’t watching the people you love get hurt; it was coming in during the second act, when it was already too late to stop it from happening.
‧We are the ones we pretend, with all our hearts, we can’t become.
‧If you didn’t put the trauma behind you, you couldn’t move on. But if you did put the trauma behind you, you willingly gave up your claim to the person you were before t happened.
‧Maybe you had to come close to losing something before you could remember its value.
‧The best decisions in marriage (are) based not on honesty but on the member of casualties that the truth might cause versus the number saved by ignorance.
‧Life (is) just a whole string of spots where you continue to surprise yourself.
‧Just because you didn’t speak the facts out loud didn’t erase their existence. Silence was just a quieter way to lie.
‧Life could take on any number of shapes while you were busy fighting your own demons. But if you were changing at the same rate as the person beside you, nothing else really mattered. You become each other’s consultant. 


那天再次翻閱但丁的《神曲》之後,手指滑過書櫃的第四層,拾起了Jodi Picoult的The Tenth Circle。

Picoult是三個孩子的媽媽,也是個非常好的storyteller。她的第一部長篇小說Songs of the Humpback Whale就是在懷第一個孩子的時候完成的,之後陸續出版了:Harvesting the Heart (1993)、Picture Perfect (1995)、Mercy (1996)、The Pact (1998)、 Keeping Faith (1999)、Plain Truth (2000)、Salem Falls (2001)、Perfect Match (2002)、Second Glance (2003)、My Sister's Keeper (2004)、Vanishing Acts (2005)、The Tenth Circle (2006)、Nineteen Minutes (2007)、Change of Heart (2008),與Handle With Care (2009)。House Rules是下一本的書名。 

她的作品總圍繞著爭議性的hot issues,藉由故事的發展她丟出一個又一個關於個人、家庭與社會的灰色地帶問題,不管是《姊姊的守護者》裡以愛為出發點的基因工程、《第十層地獄》裡欺騙背叛之後的自我救贖、《事發的19分鐘》裡血腥復仇後面的絕望怨懟、《死亡約定》裡結束至愛生命的成全與盲目,還是《換心》裡接受罪犯器官的期待與矛盾。每一次我都問自己:到底我對身邊的人了解有多少?對自己,又有多誠實?

大學的時候唸Dante的Divine Comedy其實有點不以為然,覺得但丁會這樣描述天堂地獄大概是因為he's insane, like many great writers and artists。再一次閱讀好像才開始理解《神曲》真正的意義..... 但丁將地獄分為九層,愈下層愈罪孽深重。第一層地獄裡是那些生前不信上帝的人們;第二層是生前犯下姦淫罪的;第三層是生前貪婪的;第四層是生前拜金或敗家的;第五層是生前憂鬱或憤怒的;第六層裡生前是異教徒的;第七層地獄是生前使用暴力的,自殺也算;第八層是生前背叛或不忠的,像是間諜或做偽證的人;第九層是第八層的plus,懲罰著像是背叛上帝的Lucifer(撒旦)和殺害手足的Cain的人們。

而Picoult的第十層地獄,是欺瞞自己的人們。The Tenth Circle裡14歲的Trixie因為無法面對Jason與她分手這件事情,為了挽回,她撒謊自殘、迷失自我;Trixie的爸爸Daniel因為無法面對自己與其他孩子不同這件事情,為了逃離,他打架鬧事、隱藏過去;Trixie的媽媽Laura因為無法面對出軌與學生發生關係這件事情,為了掩蓋,她生氣驚慌、編造藉口。最後他們在彼此的謊言裡看見自己,然後學著接受現實的殘缺。


Picoult在The Tenth Circle裡穿插了九篇漫畫,每篇都隱藏了幾個abc。為了那86個英文字母,我把漫畫的部分翻了好幾遍,終於找到:

no thi ngi se
as ie rt han
sel fd ece it
for wh at ea ch man
wis he st ha
th ea lso be
lie ves tob et
rue de mo st
he nes

重新排列之後,是古希臘演說家Demosthenes曾經說過的:Nothing is easier than self-deceit. For what each man wishes, that he also believes to be true.

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