《恶魔之城》:从无名小卒到上海滩黑帮大佬_OK阅读网
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《恶魔之城》:从无名小卒到上海滩黑帮大佬
From Rags to Ill-Gotten Riches in 1930s China

来源:纽约时报    2018-08-06 03:13



        CITY OF DEVILS
The Two Men Who Ruled the Underworld of Old Shanghai
By Paul French
299 pp. Picador. $28
        恶魔之城
统治旧上海黑社会的两个男人
保罗·法兰奇(Paul French)著
299页。Picador出版社。售价28美元。
        Shanghai in the 1930s. Anyone familiar with detective novels or noir cinema knows exactly what that phrase means: smoke-filled nightclubs, back-alley gambling houses and dark, seedy opium dens, all frequented by a motley assortment of Chinese mobsters, White Russian émigrés, fugitive criminals of all nations and at least one gorgeous femme fatale with a past. Designated an international treaty port after the 19th-century Opium Wars, Shanghai eventually became a kind of global melting pot of the Seven Deadly Sins — what one writer called “a tawdry city of refugees and rackets” — largely controlled by foreigners determined to fleece the town of every copper yuan or Mexican silver dollar it could yield. By the 1930s, Shanghai was the fifth-largest city in the world — and, to hear some tell it, a corrupt and drug-addled place like no other.        1930年代的上海。任何熟悉侦探小说或是黑色电影的人,都清楚这句话意味着什么:烟雾缭绕的夜总会;后巷里的赌场,以及黑暗、乌烟瘴气的烟馆,这些地方的常客鱼龙混杂,有中国黑帮、白俄、各国逃犯,还至少有一个有着不可告人的经历、美艳动人的致命美女。19世纪鸦片战争后,上海根据国际条约成为通商口岸,最终成为了“七宗罪”的某种国际大熔炉——有一位作者称之为“满是难民和花天酒地的俗丽之城”——主要为外国人所控制,他们决意要搜刮走这座城市能产出的每一枚铜板和鹰洋。到了1930年代,上海已经是世界上第五大城市了,按照一些人的说法,还是一个腐败、毒品泛滥的城市,再没有像这里一样的地方了。
        Just how much of this notorious reputation is historical fact and how much is Hollywood (or neocolonialist) fantasy is hard to say, and “City of Devils,” Paul French’s new narrative history of the city, is not likely to clear matters up. Though the book shows signs of being exhaustively researched, much of the material, by the author’s own admission, has been freely embroidered. “‘City of Devils’ is based on real people and real events,” French writes in his preface, but because of the sub rosa nature of the episodes described, “assumptions have been made.” Translation: Details have been invented. Even reproductions of newspaper articles have been punched up “with one or two minor additions in the interest of advancing the narrative.” And since French includes no endnotes or even a list of sources, it’s impossible to know just where the facts end and the folklore begins.        很难说这个臭名昭著的名声到底有多少是历史史实,又有多少是好莱坞(或新殖民主义者)的幻想,而保罗·法兰奇对这座城市的新叙述史《恶魔之城》不太可能会澄清这一点。尽管这本书显示出作者做过详尽研究,但作者本人承认,其中很多素材都经过了随意加工。“《恶魔之城》基于真人真事,”法兰奇在序言中写道,但由于书中描述的事件的隐秘性,“其中带有揣测。”意即书中一些细节是编造的。即使是对新闻报道的复制,也带有“一两处增补,以推进叙述情节”。既然法兰奇没有给出尾注,甚至也没有列出信源,我们无从得知事实和民间传说的分野。
        So the book is perhaps best regarded as historical fiction and, like many a good novel, it centers on the rags-to-riches ascent of a colorful protagonist — or, in this case, two colorful protagonists. Joe Farren, born Josef Pollak in the Jewish ghetto of Vienna, comes to Shanghai as a penniless exhibition dancer hoping to become “the city’s own Flo Ziegfeld”; Jack Riley, an American originally named Fahnie Albert Becker, is a former Navy seaman and wanted ex-con who shows up with a dream of making a fortune on illegal slot machines. As newcomers to this “city of reinvention,” they must start at the bottom of the gangland pecking order and work their way up, eventually partnering together on a drug-running operation that proves lucrative enough to make both of them major players in Shanghai’s criminal economy.        因此,将这本书视为历史小说比较好,就像许多优秀的小说一样,它以一名多姿多彩的主角白手起家的故事为核心——或者,在这本书里,其实是两位多姿多彩的主角。乔·法伦(Joe Farren),曾经的名字为约瑟夫·波拉克(Josef Pollak),生于维也纳一个犹太人聚居区,他来到上海时身无分文,是一名展览舞者,希望成为“这座城市的弗洛·齐格飞(Flo Ziegfeld)”;另一位是杰克·莱利(Jack Riley),他是一名美国人,原名为法赫尼·艾尔伯特·贝克(Fahnie Albert Becker),是一名前海军水兵,受到通缉的前科犯,他来到上海梦想着用非法老虎机大赚一笔。作为这个“再造之城”的新来者,他们必须从黑社会的最底层开始,一步步向上爬,最终两人在从事毒品走私的活动上结成一伙。事实证明,走私毒品利润足够丰厚,让两人都成为了上海犯罪经济中的主要玩家。
        Their big break, however, comes in 1937, when the Japanese invasion of Shanghai changes the geography of sin in the besieged city, isolating the international settlement and moving its main vice district to a nearby area instantly called the Badlands. Joe and Jack, filling the power vacuum left by the decampment of native Chinese crime lords, collaborate on a venue called Farren’s, “the biggest, fanciest, richest nightclub and casino Shanghai has ever seen.” And from there they reign over the city’s reconstituted underworld — until war and Jack’s criminal past catch up with them, bringing the pair down along with the bad old Shanghai they have helped to build.        然而,他们的重大转机出现于1937年,当时日本侵略上海,改变了这座遭到围困城市的罪恶地理形态。租界被隔绝开来,将这座城市主要的犯罪地区转移到了附近一个地区,这里立刻就被称为“歹土”(Badlands)。乔和杰克填补了中国犯罪头子逃走留下的权力真空,在一个名为“法伦家”(Farren’s)的场所开始合作,“这是上海有过的最大、最时髦、最有钱的夜总会和赌场”。从那里,他们统治了这个城市重新构建起来的黑社会——直到战争和杰克的犯罪历史让两人和他们一起帮助建立起来的罪恶旧上海垮台。
        French, the author of “Midnight in Peking,” recounts all of this with great energy and brio. He writes in the knowing, slang-filled idiom of Shanghai’s Shopping News, a gossipy English-language newspaper he quotes repeatedly throughout. And if the book is never quite as engrossing or entertaining as it should be, it is at least atmospheric enough to keep one turning pages. After all, it’s hard to go wrong with dope, decadence and the demimonde. This may be Shanghai as seen through a cinematic Western lens, but there are few more fascinating places — in fiction or in fact.        法拉奇也是《午夜北平》(Midnight in Peking)一书的作者,他以极大的精力和活泼的文笔重述了这一切。他以英文八卦报纸《上海购物新闻》(Shanghai’s Shopping News)心照不宣、满是俚语的风格进行写作,书中他也多次引用该报的内容。如果这本书不像它应该的那样引人入胜或是有趣,它书中的氛围至少能让你一直读下去。毕竟,毒品、堕落和风月场很难让人觉得无聊。这可能是人们通过西方电影化镜头看到的上海,但很少有比上海更吸引人的地方——无论是在小说还是在现实中。
                
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