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The Mercy Seat
死刑之椅
版本: 精裝240頁  2018 年 5 月 8 日  Grove Press出版
ISBN:978-0802128188
內容介紹

短短240頁的內容,刻畫著動人心弦的故事。
每一句話,每一個字詞都讓人刻骨銘心。

來自備受喜愛的作家伊莉莎白.溫索普(Elizabeth Winthrop)又一新作《死刑之椅》(The Mercy Seat)。一位年輕黑人男子威利(Willie)被指控強暴一名白人少女葛瑞絲(Grace),然而整起事件因被害人的死亡走入了羅生門般的困境,兩方家人各執己見,正義的最後依託──法官,卻在剎那之間判處威利死刑。在一切未明之中,這突如其來的結果是否有著偏見與不當?

威利與葛瑞絲之間是否有著愛,或者這一切僅僅只是犯罪行為?一場判決牽扯出難解的人倫情感,以及敏感的種族情結,隨之而來的是對威利、他的家人,以及社區居民的重大衝擊。背景設立於1940年代的美國南方,路易斯安那州。《死刑之椅》在情節之中以時間、空間和具體事件鋪陳,藉此引發讀者再次反思種族、法律制度,與社會人倫等議題。 

作者溫斯頓溫暖優雅的筆調,細膩的描繪故事中每個角色內心的掙扎、惆悵、壓抑、苦痛與無奈。《死刑之椅》(The Mercy Seat)內容上以感性、洗鍊的文字和緩鋪陳劇情走向,有別於粉飾太平的偽和平,作者溫斯頓營造出一股寧靜中蓄勢待發的能量。角色塑造的層疊且複雜,緊張氛圍隨著故事發展逐漸攀升,隱約的潛伏於字句之中強烈震撼力,隨著讓人心碎不已的結局在最後一刻迎面撲來。 

“One of the finest writers of her generation” (Brad Watson), and author of three previously acclaimed novels, Elizabeth H. Winthrop delivers a brave new book that will launch her distinguished career anew. An incisive, meticulously crafted portrait of race, racism, and injustice in the Jim Crow era South that is as intimate and tense as a stage drama, The Mercy Seat is a stunning account of one town’s foundering over a trauma in their midst.

On the eve of his execution, eighteen year old Willie Jones sits in his cell in New Iberia awaiting his end. Across the state, a truck driven by a convict and his keeper carries the executioner’s chair closer. On a nearby highway, Willie’s father Frank lugs a gravestone on the back of his fading, old mule. In his office the DA who prosecuted Willie reckons with his sentencing, while at their gas station at the crossroads outside of town, married couple Ora and Dale grapple with their grief and their secrets.

As various members of the township consider and reflect on what Willie’s execution means, an intricately layered and complex portrait of a Jim Crow era Southern community emerges. Moving from voice to voice, Winthrop elegantly brings to stark light the story of a town, its people, and its injustices. The Mercy Seat is a brutally incisive and tender novel from one of our most acute literary observers.

作者介紹

伊莉莎白.赫特利.溫索普(Elizabeth Hartley Winthrop)為Fireworks和December的作者,被紐約時報書評(The New York Times Book Review)評譽筆鋒帶有「犀利又睿智」的特色。溫索普出生成長於紐約,2011年獲得哈佛大學拉丁文學位榮譽(summa cum laude from Harvard University),2014年於加州大學爾灣分校(the University of California at Irvine)獲得藝術創作碩士學位。

書評

“carefully structured novel is a nuanced, absorbing, atmospheric examination of how racism tears at the whole of society” Starred Booklist review

“A remarkable work with a stunning unexpected conclusion, not to be missed” Starred Library Journal review

‘In her new novel, Elizabeth Winthrop writes with a moral certainty equaled by the lucid confidence of her prose. Starkly beautiful, unflinchingly honest and stretched taut across the hours of a single, terrible night, The Mercy Seat opens with a flatbed bearing a deadly cargo and never for an instant lets off the gas, chapters flashing by like fence posts on one of Winthrop’s rural Louisiana highways. The trip is dark and human and complex and there is very little mercy at the end of the road. A remarkable novel by an immensely talented writer.’―Michael Knight

‘This taut, deft novel asks us to look, and to look hard, and our willingness is profoundly honored.’―Michelle Latiolais

‘A compelling, sorrowful read, deeply perceptive and wonderfully full of grace.’ Andrew Solomon

‘Please celebrate Winthrop's audacious determination to walk through the narrative minefield of this account of an electrocution in the Deep South during the Gothic worst of Jim Crow times. Winthrop redeems her daring by lovely discipline and dignity, by the care she lavishes on each of her rounded characters. The Mercy Seat is truly a bravura performance.’―Geoffrey Wolff

“A bitingly intelligent writer.”—New York Times Book Review

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