کتاب سوءقصد

اثر هری مولیش از انتشارات نشر چشمه - مترجم: سامگیس زندی-داستان تاریخی

De aanslag, Harry Mulisch
عنوان: ترور؛ هری مولیش؛ مترجم: سامگیس زندی؛ تهران، نشر چشمه، 1393، در 205 ص، 9786002294760؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان هلندی


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De aanslag, Harry Mulisch
عنوان: ترور؛ هری مولیش؛ مترجم: سامگیس زندی؛ تهران، نشر چشمه، 1393، در 205 ص، 9786002294760؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان هلندی


مشاهده لینک اصلی
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همه چیز با شنیدن چند صدای شلیک شروع می شود، جنازه ای توی خیابان افتاده که مربوط به یکی از پلیس های هلندی است که در جنگ جهانی دوم با ارتش آلمان و نازی ها کمک میکرده و به همین دلیل مورد سوء قصد قرار می گیرد، صاحب خانه ای که جنازه روبروی آن جنازه بر روی زمین افتاده بود، برای فرار از دست نازی ها جنازه را جلوی درب خانواده استینوایک می اندازند. فرصتی نمانده، پسر بزرگتر برای جا به جایی جسد حرکت می کند ولی دیر شده و آلمان ها سر می رسند. پسر کوچکتر را به پاسگاه می برند و خانه آن ها را منفجر می کنند و پدر و مادر را هم اعدام می کنند.
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این کلیت داستان است ولی جزئیات کاملا متفاوت است که سالها طول می کشد تا واقعیت بر ملا شود. واقعیتی که نشان از سادگی دارد.
پسر کوچکتر در پاسگاه پلیس با زنی که سوء قصد را انجام داده، هم سلول می شود و در آن شرایط بحرانی آن زن تاثیری آرامبخش و خاطره انگیز بر پسر میگذارد که پس از گذشت سالیان و روشن شدن واقعیت، نمی تواند از او متنفر باشد.
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پسر کوچکتر با اشخاص مرتبط با دو طرف این سوء قصد به صورت تصادفی دیدار می کند و ماجرا را از زبان آن ها هم می شنود. پسرِ پلیسِ کشته شده و مردی که هم دست زن در آن شب بود.
واقعا نمی شود کسی را مقصر شناخت، همه چیز به جنگ و فضای نفرت انگیز و رعب آور آن بر می گردد تا یک سری اتفاقات باعث از بین رفتن پدر، مادر و برادر بزرگتر شود. جنگ برای طرفین طبعاتی در پیش خواهد داشت. پس از کشف حقایق و اینقدر ساده کشته شدن آدم ها در این اتفاق، حس بیزاری و تنفر از جنگ و بانیان جنگ در شما چندین برابر می شود. این اتفاق زمانی می افتد که جنگ در اروپا به پایان رسیده و هلند هم در انتظار تخلیه نیروهای آلمانی، در اصل جنگی هم در میان نبود و همه چیز از عواقب جنگ بود.
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کتاب از نوجوانی آنتون شروع می شود و با زندگی او تا کهنسالی همراه می شویم. کتاب با جنگ و کشتار آغاز می شود و با نفرت همگانی و تظاهرات گسترده بر علیه جنگ به پایان می رسد. این کتاب خود جنگ است.
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توضیحات بیشتر درمورد کتاب باعث از بین رفتن لذت کشف حقایق می شود. اگر جنگ دغدغه شما هم هست، بخوانیدش.
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به اقتباس از کتاب فیلمی تحت همین عنوان هم ساخته شده که به سختی توانستم پیدا کنم و ببینم. فیلم به هیچ وجه نتوانسته تأثیرگذاری کتاب را داشته باشد و در جزئیات تغییرات زیدب را اعمال کرده. با این توصاف فیلم جایزه اسکار بهترین فیلم خارجی زیان را در سال هزار و نهصد و هشتاد و شش ازآن خود کرد.
سامگیس زندی تلاش بسیاری در شناساندن ادبیات کشورهایی نظیر هلند و بلژیک و دانمارک به خواننده های ایرانی انجام داده و این کارش قابل ستایش است. همیشه ترجمه هایش را بدون توجه به نویسنده و سبک کتاب خریده ام چون انتخاب هایش را قبول دارم، هرچند این کتاب نیاز به کمی ویرایش دارد.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
There’s a popular argument for the existence of God, which is that the world, as we see and experience it, is complexly ordered, and so someone must be responsible for this order. Which is nice and logical, of course, but, rightly or wrongly, when I look at the world I don’t see harmony, I see chaos, especially where humanity is concerned. When I think about human existence it strikes me as overwhelmingly random. Without exception, you’re thrown into a situation over which you have no control whatsoever, a situation – whether good or bad – that is unstable, where with each passing second something could happen that could alter the fabric of your life. And this, at least partly, is what Harry Mulisch’s acclaimed Dutch novel is about.

The Assault spans decades in the life of Anton Steenwijk. It opens in 1945, a time when ‘almost all of Europe had been liberated and were once more rejoicing’; but this is Holland, and the Nazis are, unfortunately, still hanging around. Despite the war, the atmosphere in the Steenwijk household is peaceful, domestic; the family are spending the evening together; the eldest son is doing his homework, with the help of his father; the mother is unravelling a sweater. Later, they start to play a board game. Then, with no warning, six gunshots punctuate the night like the sound of the flapping of giant moth wings, and everything changes. Mulisch emphasises the normality of the situation prior to the shots almost as a way of lulling you into a false sense of security, the same false sense of security that the family themselves feel. Moreover, it is necessary that you believe that this is a normal family, that you understand that this – the assault that occurs – could happen to anyone, that remarkable things can and do happen to unremarkable people.

@description@
[Nazi collaborator and police officer Fake Krist lays dead in Haarlem, Netherlands, after being shot by the resistance]*

Of course, you now want to know what the assault is. The details of the tragedy, which is partly based on a true story, are not important, not in relation to this review, anyway. What interests me is what I touched upon in the introduction, which is just how unpredictable life is. One event, one moment…no warning, and nothing is ever the same again. Anton, the Steenwijk’s youngest son, and only twelve at the time, is uprooted from Haarlem, and moved to Amsterdam; he is adopted by his aunt and uncle. More significantly, he carries the event around with him, is influenced by it, even when he thinks that he is paying it no mind, because in avoidance of something one still has a relationship with it. Towards the middle of the novel, Mulisch introduces another important character, Cor Takes, who interacts with Anton as an adult. He is more obviously affected by the assault, he, year-on-year, has it at the forefront of his mind, he makes no effort to let it go. Yet it is the case that both characters cannot escape it, or the war in Holland as a whole, they are tied to it; it is simply that they deal with that in different ways. The horrible truth of the matter is that one does not live with war or tragedy for the duration of the conflict or incident, one lives with it forever; this is, I think, Mulisch’s point.

You might ask, how do I know this? How do I know that one lives with tragedy long after the event, that it becomes part of you? Well, it isn’t something I have learnt from literature, that’s for sure. I’ve had my own experiences, which I won’t go into here, and I have known many people – refugees, rape victims, trafficked women, etc – who have suffered more than I. And I saw their story in The Assault, in Anton Steenwijk’s behaviour and mindset. Mulisch’s book is, for me, the most believable, and powerful, exploration of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that I have encountered in fiction. As noted, Anton rarely acknowledges the past to himself, and yet his choices, his actions, scream about it. For example, he studies medicine, because ‘he was fascinated by the delicate equilibrium that must be maintained whenever the butchers plant their knives in someone – this balancing on the edge between life and death.’ And I don’t think it takes a genius to understand why he might have an interest in death, in pain, and, as an anesthesiologist, consciousness and memory. Likewise, Anton chooses a wife that, he admits to himself, in some vague way reminds him of the woman with whom he shared a cell so soon after the assault.

One of the most moving passages in the book is when Anton is at the theatre watching The Cherry Orchard, Anton Chekhov’s famous last play, and he suddenly experiences an intensely painful flashback. The play is not, of course, at all concerned with war and yet Steenwijk sees something in it, in an innocuous scene involving a family sat around a table, that reminds him of his own family and that awful night in 1945. This kind of thing is, sadly, very familiar to me. As are the nightmares that Anton experiences. Indeed, I know a young woman who all but avoids sleep because she cannot cope with the terrible nightmares she suffers as a result of what once happened to her. Even if I thought the rest of his book was dogshit [I don’t], I would applaud Mulisch – who lived through world war two himself, who lost his grandmother in the gas chambers – for all this, for going there and nailing it in such a sensitive way.

@description@
[A performance of The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov]

One thing that I do want to make explicit is that The Assault is such a brave and intelligent novel. Even in relation to something like the Nazi occupation of a country, Mulisch does not blindly take sides, he does not look for easy answers or explanations. For example, the resistance man, Takes, admits to killing and cutting up [literally into pieces] Nazis or collaborators, he longs to murder an old woman who ratted him out. There’s no romanticising of freedom fighters here, folks. In fact, Takes comments that many people only joined the resistance because they knew that Hitler was losing; and while I would rather not believe this, I do, unfortunately, find it very easy to believe.

Mulisch also pulls no punches in relation to the dead body that inspires the assault. When Fake Ploeg is shot a neighbour moves the corpse so that it it is outside the Steenwijk’s house, knowing full-well what this means, what will happen when the Nazis find it there. Moreover, Peter Steenwijk goes outside intent on moving it again [this scene is, in fact, grimly amusing], either back to from where it came, or to another house. Again, he knows what the consequences will be when it is found. Mulisch is not afraid to acknowledge the ruthlessness of people caught in life or death situations. Better them, than us. Even though all are innocent. Every one of us would like to think that we would not do such a thing, that we would not condemn someone else in order to save ourselves, but it is impossible to say with any certainty how one would behave in such a situation.

“Not until people are called Adolf again will the Second World War be really behind us. But that means we’d have to have a third world war, which would mean the end of Adolfs forever.”


You may have noticed that I have not so far not indulged in any criticism, and the reason for this is that The Assault is almost without blemish. The most I could say in this regard is that the scene between Anton and the woman in the dark prison cell is slightly cringeworthy. I just, I don’t know, struggled to get on board with a wounded woman babbling on about poetry and love, while feeling up a young boy’s face. A more serious complaint would be that there is a hell of a lot of contrivance, or coincidence in the book. Anton meets Takes, who played a major role in the assault, at a funeral, for example; in fact, he overhears him talking about it. This is many years after the event, of course. Yet one could argue that these coincidences are all part of, are evidence of Mulisch’s ideas about living with war and the impossibility of escaping one’s past. Throughout his life, Anton consistently bumps into people that are connected to the war, because it is simply a fact that everyone was involved in it in some way, you didn’t have a choice, it was unavoidable, it was there, on your doorstep, like Fake Ploeg’s dead body.
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*I usually wouldnt post something like this, but as the same picture is featured on the front cover of the book I feel more comfortable with it

مشاهده لینک اصلی
There is an immediacy that is heart rending as the Germans enter their home. Time in the present is excruciatingly fearful told through Mulisch’s pressurized details.

Rationed war time goods disappearing the family lives in bleakness. The war has ended but not yet in this Dutch land. In the middle of the deserted street, in front of Mr. Korteweg’s house lay a bicycle with its upended front wheel still turning…” Beside the bicycle is the corpse of a fascist sympathizer, a German policeman, shot and killed. Someone from the Korteweg’s house transfers the body to the front of twelve year old Anton’s house. Now the target of reprisal. And yet…And yet the father sits at the kitchen table reading the Jewish Philosopher Spinoza stepping into a different realm of time.

Time is crucial in this novel. The means by which it moves and transfers, how it winds in on itself. At moments how it stands still.

“Everything was still-and yet time went by. It was as if everything grew radiant with the passage of time, like pebbles at the bottom of a brook.”

Premonitions of what will happen with-to Anton in the future; time slipping and weaving. We are situated in the present-the now-looking back on 1945.

The trickiness of trauma is forthright here. There are times when one goes through a trauma and is knocked unconscious and therefore the memory of the trauma is wiped away. It is no longer retrievable. No longer exists within the brain. Others are less lucky and must grapple forever with what lies within consciousness, now their enemy. They as enemies of themselves. This horrid trauma that forced itself upon Anton and his family, effects Anton’s life in his attempt to suppress it, block it off, which means his blocking himself off from himself. Mulisch, through the novelistic weaving of his plot is sensitive and explicit in how it also changes many lives.

The language is attuned to the contents, its pitch and mood. As Anton grows up it fell flat as though Mulisch ran out of things to say. The narrator even slipped from reliable to unreliable with words such as, probably, etc. peppering the narrative. I felt jilted and felt that I shouldn’t have to pay for all the rest of the words; not in money or time. Fortunately I had a moving spiritual experience; the ghost of my ignorance floated before my eyes. Unblinking, it reminded me of its constant presence even in the face of my liveliest tricks. I was able to hear and see from its whispered breath on my mirror that indeed the language was flattened and slowed due to the craftsmanship of Mulisch. In his hands the language acutely portrayed Anton’s abandonment of his self and the halting pace of life, as well as the irremovable stains of betrayal to the truth.

I didn’t remove that ghostly breath from the mirror. Although, I claim my right that there were moments where personal biography thinned out the passage(s) but this was overwhelmingly rebutted by the return of fiction where the language exploded into passion, especially in confrontations with people from his past.

Obviously this is a 5 star book. One that I will remember, that will haunt me, that I will continue to think about wanted or not. So, what happened to that other star? I keep my stars locked in a safe. The only answer is that it lost one tenth of a star for on P. 66 letters were missing or faded along the left boundary. This was important since every word in this book was so crucial. But here is the sadness. My sadness. The book drew to a stunning and startling conclusion. Only it was two pages before the ending. Read all the way through the last two pages printed as though we the readers hadn’t and wouldn’t catch on and understand, deflated the structure. The edifice tumbled down.

I highly recommend, The Assault, but please stop reading two pages from the end. In my edition, The Pantheon Modern Writers paperback. P. 180. Also it is Author’s Kindness Week and to remember how difficult it is to end a story. Even great writers sometimes need a little bit of assistance.

Time to go clean up mirror until next time.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
Harry Mulisch was born in Haarlem, Netherlands and lived in Amsterdam from 1958 until his death in 2010. His father was from Austria-Hungary and emigrated to the Netherlands after the First World War. During the German occupation in World War II his father worked for a German bank, which also dealt with confiscated Jewish assets, while his mother, Alice Schwarz, was Jewish. Mulisch and his mother escaped transportation to a concentration camp thanks to Mulischs fathers collaboration with the Nazis, but his maternal grandmother died in a gas chamber.

His novel, The Assault, opens in Netherlands near the end of World War II. The narrative focuses on the persistence of memory in his protagonist, Anton Steenwijk. Five episodes from Anton Steenwijks life are described in this novel, representing five stations of his life: from 1945, 1952, 1956, 1966, and 1981. It is the first that is the most significant, describing the assault of the novels title. It is his memory of this assault, the massacre of his family, that permeates and shapes the rest of his life in ways that he has difficulty comprehending. The narrative presents episodes in Antons life; each episode overshadowed by his memories of the assault.

At one level, the book can be read as a detective story, reminiscent of Simenon, with intriguing twists and turns and a definite solution. It is also a morality tale (though one that doesnt point out any easy moral), a dark fable about design and accident, strength and weakness, and the ways in which guilt and innocence can overlap and intermingle. What impressed me was the authors ability to convey Antons feelings of alienation and isolation from others. His struggle, often due to his memories, to overcome these feelings color all of the subsequent episodes.
“The process of putting Haarlem behind him resembled the changes a man goes through when he divorces. He takes a girl friend to forget his wife, but just doing that prolongs the connection with the wife. Possibly things will work out only with the next girl friend - although the third one has the best chance. Boundaries have to be continuously sealed off, but its a hopeless job, fore everything touches everything else in this world. A beginning never disappears, not even with the ending.”

Told against the backdrop of shifting Dutch post-war society, centered around significant points in that history -- the reaction to the events in Budapest in 1956, the release of Willy Lages (head of the Gestapo in Holland), anti-nuclear protests in 1981 -- Mulisch paints a canvas of the difficulties of Dutch society in coming to terms with the events of the war. There are no easy answers for Mulisch, no simple blame to assign, even where it first appears there might be. Mulisch, using a taut and subtle style, explores questions of guilt and innocence, heroism and cowardice in this spellbinding and moving novel. While very different in style and tone from Wolfgang Koeppens Death in Rome, Mulischs novel is just as effective in portraying the lasting impact of the War on Europe. The Assault is one of the best novels I have read, in fact it is one of the finest examples of European postwar fiction.
Mulisch also gained international recognition with the film adaptation of The Assault. It received an Oscar and a Golden Globe for best foreign movie in 1986.


مشاهده لینک اصلی
All of us, I think, even if we dont have a deeply profound sense of the bittersweetness of life, carry something inside us that haunts us, and we carry those things and react to their presence according to our ability to process and place them into a healthy context -- though sometimes it is hard to quite know whether @healthy@ is something genuine, arbitrary or just an artificial coping strategy. These lingering demons can include great regrets, an embarrassment or moment of public humiliation, or a lost love. We bear up stoically and move ahead even as these saddening passengers continue to take the ride with us, reminding us at intervals of varying duration that they are still here, and likely always will be, thank you very much. And we probably think that these demons are so awful that no one else can possibly understand them, or, consequently, us. Most of our demons, though, are garden-variety. There are plenty of other people, we tend to forget, who have gone through much much worse. Far worse. What they carry inside them, we cant quite imagine.

In Harry Mulischs deceptively laconic, and sometimes diffident novel, The Assault, Amsterdam is peopled with those carrying such demons. It is a generational graveyard of walking skeletons, those trying to build a sane future in the ruins of an urban charnel house in which the ghosts of World War II, even if they are not literal ones, float and exist in memory and pass before the eyes of the haunted as surely as the very real city itself; a city that is ever-changing yet which can never change enough to ever let its phantoms fade.

It would seem that the story of Anton, a 12-year-old boy whose parents and brother are taken from him in a cruel twist of fate at the very end of the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands in 1945, is a minor tragedy, as tragedies go in the grand scheme of a total war. It is a brief episode, barely a squeak in the din of the collective scream.

But its an event that involves many, as it happens, as all wars do, and it leaves behind a network of closely and distantly related people, all working at cross-purposes in a world where survival begets it own imperatives and consequences that reverberate for the rest of peoples lives.

In this sweeping tale, everyone has his or her own story -- regardless of the commonality of the war experience -- and those disparate pieces of the puzzle are held by many. And Mulisch takes his time assembling the picture for us, bringing out the puzzle pieces only as Anton finds them. Anton, like so many war victims, has decided to suppress his memories, to not pursue the truth about the fate of his family, to err on the side of starting over, acting as if his first life was just a distant fairy tale. Others, however, carry the war like an open wound, such as the resistance fighter, Cor Takes, a man who played a key role in the chain of events that affected the fate of Antons family. When Anton meets Takes, years after the war, almost by sheer chance, the pieces of the puzzle suddenly emerge, and are presented to him almost against his will. While Anton has ignored his memory and favored disinterest, Takes has done the opposite. For him, the war never ended; he lives with it, bitterly and passionately every day, stoking a hatred that never dies and informs his life in the present, constantly. As Anton says to him, sarcastically and without sympathy, @The War is still on; right, Takes?@

As the story proceeds, haunting, blunted memories become sharpened again, and connections begin to form. All the things that Anton did not want to know become known. And despite his own suppression of memory, his thinking patterns and emotions are informed by the war. His own wife, Saskia, becomes a surrogate for a woman he never saw, a prisoner who comforted him in the murky blackness of a prison cell on his darkest night of the war in 1945. Her spectre, one that preoccupies Takes particularly as well, provides the story a powerful sense of the irrational and the romantic and the need to find an anchor in the midst of chaos within the context of love.

The book movies along very slowly, taking Anton through decades of his life as he attains success and all its desired domestic and public trappings. Along the way there are lovely passages as he reflects on disparate issues and seemingly unrelated features of his world. In some ways, the book seems to skate too easily over a vast span of time as it intermixes past and present. Fortunately, it never panders to easy sentimentality even as we crave some emotional catharsis. Its revelations about the war are slow to emerge. This is to Mulischs credit, because he saves the big guns for the end.

The book explores many heavy issues without lingering too long over them, giving us just enough to ponder them on our own. Memory, our perception of time, and the twists of fate that can occur so cruelly if only for other factors being otherwise, are deftly touched on. So is the nature of morality in wartime. The notion of fighting evil with evil is well examined, and the book raises interesting moral questions about collateral damage, acceptable civilian casualties/losses for a greater cause, and the sacrifice of the innocent. These are notions that continue to inform our geopolitical challenges today.

At times, the book has the feeling of a Graham Greene novel, with slight noirish thriller elements; its moral ambiguities and shadowy characters seem like something out of The Third Man and any number of Greene books in which time and circumstance have left its protagonists rootless and desperately seeking rootedness in an unforgiving universe. The book evokes the helplessness of people caught up in events too big for them, in which the only response is to hunker down and wait things out, hoping the devil passes your door until the clock runs out. It also reminds us that what we see, what we think and what we know may have nothing to do with the truth.

For most of the way, I have to admit I was not quite sure what I felt about this book, and for a long time I kept it at an emotional arms length. It seemed like it did not want me in its personal space. The protagonists disinterest became my own.

But it all serves a grand purpose, and Mulischs calculating dolings come in speedier succession, capped with a rapid series in the final pages that demystify the story while mystifying its overall meaning. The final revelation, which comes in the last three pages, hit me with the force of a bludgeon, and it was so shattering that it left me literally holding my hand over my mouth as tears burst forth.

There is much more that can be said about this book. Its examination of memory, of the true character and motivations of people, and of the way things circle back on themselves deserve more comment than I can pithily expound on here.

The book is poetic, beautifully written, and thoughtful. And those who stick it out will be rewarded with a finale of tremendous power -- one that finds light and hope from the darkest of times.

(KR@KY 2016)


مشاهده لینک اصلی
@A man who has never been hungry may possess a more refined palate, but he has no idea what it means to eat.@

I was required to read this for my literature class, and when I was reading the synopsis on the back I thought I was going to love it. Well I didn’t it.

Here’s the thing, I’ve read a couple of WW2 stories so I basically get the gist, but this was so boring.
Apart from the fact that the beginning was tediously long, I felt like there was no real resolution to the plot.

Anton, the main character, has no personality whatsoever. He is probably the most boring character I have ever read abut. Seriously, not interesting in the slightest. Also, why was Anton more interested in some woman he met in jail than his family that was murdered by a bunch of German troops. I mean I get it, that woman was probably the light in his darkness, but come on, it was like his family was just a small part of the assault.

Anyway, was not my favorite book and will certainly not read it again.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
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