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2016.06.29 诱人的J.M.W.特纳传记

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An inviting biography of J.M.W. Turner
Our pick of the best new books, including Jonathan Safran Foer’s unflinching new novel and an inviting biography of J.M.W. Turner

Jun 29th 2016



Ever since Jonathan Safran Foer arrived on the literary scene in 2002 at just 25, he has divided opinion. His debut, the multi-prize-winning Holocaust novel, “Everything is Illuminated”, took the reader back in history to the Ukraine of his grandfather, while his second, “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”, explored the fragility of memory by focusing on New York after 9/11 and the fire-bombing of Dresden during the second world war. Both books used a livewire, modernist style which enchanted some critics and irritated others; both became bestsellers.

Here I Am, an epic of family and identity, favours a more realistic mode. After an earthquake in the Middle East leaves Israel vulnerable to attack, the geological becomes political. When the country makes an international call for Jewish men to return home and enlist, Jacob Bloch, a father-of-three living in Washington, dc, faces a tough decision. The title comes from the book of Genesis: when God calls Abraham to order him to sacrifice his son Isaac, Abraham replies, “Here I am.” Safran Foer’s third novel is here, and it offers an unflinching, tender appraisal of cultural displacement in an uncertain age. ~ REBECCA SWIRSKY

In The Underground Railroad, his sixth novel, MacArthur “genius” fellow Colson Whitehead transforms the network of secret rendezvous, stakeouts and safe houses that were used to help slaves escape the American South in the 19th century into a physical underground railway, built by dedicated workers and manned by trusted friends.

His heroine, Cora, is an orphaned slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life there is hellish and dangerous, especially for women. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, proposes escape, Cora, remembering that her mother ran away before her, barely hesitates before deciding to join him.

They reach South Carolina where they both find work in a city, only to have to flee again when they discover a terrible municipal scheme to deal with black city-dwellers. Pursued by the dreadful Ridgeway, who failed to catch Cora’s mother and who bears Cora a particular grudge, the pair are forced to try and run away again. In rich, poetic language, Whitehead paints a world of special terror for black people in the pre-civil-war era and, in Cora, he conjures up a heroine whose courage, kindness and humanity cannot be deflected. ~ Fiammetta Rocco

In “Sapiens”, his swashbuckling bestseller from 2014, Yuval Noah Harari looked at the history of humanity. In Homo Deus the Israeli historian turns to what is increasingly his favourite subject – our future. War, famine and plague are no longer our main threats. Technology has won out, and human suffering from now on will be down to our own failure. But that is not to say our troubles are behind us: the very technologies that delivered us from ancient dangers have spawned new ones, more alien and more frightening.

From now on the three principal challenges for humanity will be achieving immortality, pursuing happiness and attaining divinity. Divinity, that is, in the sense of fine control over the human genome, brain-computer interfaces, nano-robots and artificial intelligence. As we pursue health, happiness and power with these tools, we will gradually change ourselves until we are no longer quite what we were before. At that point, Homo sapiens will be no more: Homo deus will reign. ~ TOM GRAHAM

England’s most famous artist was the son of a hairdresser, born in 1775 amid the urban swirl of Covent Garden in London. In The Extraordinary Life and Momentous Times of J.M.W. Turner Franny Moyle tells the compelling story of a self-taught prodigy (he exhibited at the Royal Academy aged 15), a restless painter who always sought new forms of expression in watercolour and oils.

No one painted turbulent seas or mountain scenery more skilfully. There were striking historical subjects and even some erotica, drawn apparently from personal experience. He belonged to no school of painting; his luminous late work especially was absorbed by colour, and by the effects of light, as in “The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons” (1834 - detail above).

Moyle’s Turner was a canny figure who had a succession of rich patrons among aristocrats and businessmen. He died a wealthy man. She is frank about his loves (two lovers, some children, no wife), entertaining about his extensive travels in Britain (Margate was a favourite hiding place) and staggered by his arduous journey over the Alps on foot and by donkey to Italy. There he painted Venice in a romantic haze of colour. Moyle is an unpretentious art historian, and she has written an inviting and easily digested biography of the best of British painters. ~ STEPHEN FAY

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我们挑选的最佳新书,包括乔纳森-萨夫兰-福尔(Jonathan Safran Foer)坚定不移的新小说和J.M.W. Turner的诱人传记。


自从2002年年仅25岁的乔纳森-萨夫兰-福尔(Jonathan Safran Foer)登上文坛以来,他就引起了不同的意见。他的首部作品,即获得多项大奖的大屠杀小说《一切都被照亮》,将读者带回到他祖父的乌克兰,而他的第二部作品《极度喧嚣与不可思议的接近》则通过关注911之后的纽约和第二次世界大战期间德累斯顿的大火轰炸,探讨了记忆的脆弱性。这两本书都采用了鲜活的现代主义风格,让一些评论家着迷,也让另一些人恼火;两本书都成为了畅销书。

我在这里》是一部关于家庭和身份的史诗,倾向于采用更现实的模式。在中东发生地震后,以色列容易受到攻击,地质问题变成了政治问题。当国家发出国际呼吁,要求犹太男子回国参军时,居住在华盛顿特区的三个孩子的父亲雅各布-布洛赫面临着一个艰难的决定。书名来自《创世纪》:当上帝打电话给亚伯拉罕,命令他牺牲他的儿子艾萨克时,亚伯拉罕回答说:"我在这里"。萨夫兰-福尔的第三部小说就在这里,它对不确定的时代中的文化迁移提供了一个毫不留情的、温柔的评价。~ Rebecca Swirsky

在他的第六部小说《地下铁路》中,麦克阿瑟 "天才 "研究员科尔森-怀特海将19世纪用于帮助奴隶逃离美国南部的秘密集合点、监视点和安全屋网络转变为一条实际的地下铁路,由专门的工人建造并由值得信赖的朋友管理。


他们到达南卡罗来纳州,在那里他们都在一个城市找到了工作,但当他们发现一个处理黑人城市居民的可怕的市政计划时,不得不再次逃离。在可怕的Ridgeway的追捕下,这对夫妇被迫再次尝试逃跑,Ridgeway没能抓住Cora的母亲,他对Cora怀有特殊的怨恨。怀特海用丰富而富有诗意的语言描绘了内战前黑人的一个特别恐怖的世界,在科拉身上,他塑造了一个女英雄,她的勇气、善良和人性是无法被忽视的。~ 菲亚梅塔-罗科


从现在起,人类面临的三个主要挑战将是实现不朽、追求幸福和获得神性。神性,也就是对人类基因组、脑机接口、纳米机器人和人工智能的精细控制。当我们用这些工具追求健康、幸福和权力时,我们将逐渐改变自己,直到我们不再是以前的我们。到那时,智人将不复存在。智人将统治天下。~ 汤姆-格雷厄姆(TOM GRAHAM



莫尔笔下的透纳是一个聪明的人物,他在贵族和商人中拥有一连串富有的赞助人。他死后是个富翁。她对他的爱情(两个情人,一些孩子,没有妻子)很坦率,对他在英国的广泛旅行(马盖特是他最喜欢的藏身之处)很有兴趣,对他徒步和骑驴去意大利的艰辛旅程感到震惊。在那里,他把威尼斯画成了一片浪漫的色彩朦胧。莫伊尔是一位朴实无华的艺术史学家,她为这位英国最好的画家写了一本诱人的、容易消化的传记。~ STEPHEN FAY

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