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PETS Reading:《离开母亲湖》
Leaving the Motherland

Chinese know Yang Erche Namu as she of the endless autobiographies. At last count she had written eight. Most are kiss-and-tell pulp, chronicling her many affairs with foreign men who wrap her in Versace miniskirts as she jaunts through Paris, Geneva and Milan. On chat shows www.pets12345.com walking, talking, ethnic minority, an exotic with long, black tresses who attributes her dalliances to a free-love upbringing among her people, the matrilineal Mosuo. Lately she's marketed herself as an oracle of femininity. In her advice book, Namu Can Do, So Can You, she suggests that Chinese women thrust out their breasts when they need favors from men and urges them to smoke because "holding a cigarette in five beautiful fingers is really seductive."

中国人得知杨二车娜姆其人是因为她的一本又一本自传。八本自传,多是大暴私事,不胜其烦叙述了她同若干外国男友的韵事,然后在范思哲迷你裙的包裹下游玩于巴黎,日内瓦和米兰。在访谈节目中,娜姆化身为中国人www.pets12345.com物。她爱说话,爱游走,一头乌黑发辫,充满异国情调。娜姆生性放荡,她认为是自小受族人自由性爱之风的影响——母系社会的摩梭族。近来,为了推销自己,她又充当了一回女性的使者。在《娜姆行,你也行》这本箴言书中,她说,在中国,女人想得到男人的宠爱,她的做法是抛胸,而且,她还怂恿女性吸烟,因为“盈盈五指中握着一支烟具有非常的诱惑力”。



This is the Namu familiar to many Chinese, a crass celebrity famous for her fame. Her self-promotion so irks her own people in their remote homeland at the foot of the Tibetan plateau that many insist www.pets12345.com, just a mixed-blood descendant of 13th century Mongolian invaders dispatched by Kublai Khan.

English-language readers, however, now meet an entirely different Namu. In her excellent childhood memoir and first book in English, Leaving Mother Lake, she expresses herself as a complicated and layered character; a spiritual storyteller with perfect pitch and such an intense yearning to leave her village that she is willing to sacrifice www.pets12345.com her family to do so. Namu has performed a neat trick in exoticizing herself for two different cultures. The real woman lies somewhere in between.

这就是中国人熟知的娜姆,一个浑然不知,名声在外的名人。娜姆的自我推销让远在西藏高原脚下故乡的人们痛苦不堪,很多人坚决认为她根本不属于摩梭人,而是13世纪被忽必烈逐出的蒙古入侵者的混血后代。

然而,英文读者会发现一个全然不同的娜姆。在她优秀的童年回忆录作品,也是第一本英文作品《离开母亲湖》中,她说自己有复杂且多重的性格,是一个心灵作家,对www.pets12345.com力,也有离开自己村庄的强烈愿望,甚至愿意为此断绝和家族的纽带。在两种截然不同的文化面前,娜姆灵巧地把自己异化,而真正的她应该介于两者之间。

In the process of telling her own tale, Namu opens a window onto one of the world's last matrilineal societies. The Mosuo number only some 30,000 and live near pristine Lugu Lake, which lies at the base of the sacred Gamu Mountain, the protective site of their mother goddess on the border of Sichuan and Yunnan provinces in southwestern China. They practice their own shamanistic religion, called Daba, and also Tibetan Buddhism. But it's the role of Mosuo women that sets them apart from other cultures: they don't marry. Instead, womenfolk take a series of lovers throughout their lives, and the children of these "walking marriages" remain in their mothers' homes under a matriarch's supervision. Nor do women lie back in their "flower chambers," staring at the ceiling and thinking of the mother goddess. "You must please yourself first," Namu's mother instructed her, adding that "making love is very good for the skin."

娜姆叙述故事的同时,也打开了一扇通往世界最后一批母系社会的窗户。摩梭族人口仅有三万,住在古老的泸沽湖旁,神山嘎姆山的腹地,也是母神的保护地,位于中国西南部四川和云南省的交界处。摩梭族行使自己的原始宗教——达巴教。达巴教属藏传佛教。摩梭族女人不结婚,正是她们把摩梭族文化和其他文化隔开。摩梭女人一生中情侣不断。走婚的后代留在母方家族,受女家长监管。摩梭女人不会呆在自己的“花楼”,眼盯屋顶,心念母神。“要先让自己得到满足”,娜姆的妈妈这样引导她,还说,“性爱对皮肤大有好处。”

Namu's co-author, anthropologist Christine Mathieu, wrote the book based on months of interviews with Namu. And Mathieu's presence helps keep some of Namu's outrageousness in check. Mathieu says, for example, that Namu first described her father as riding into her village on a white stallion and wooing her mother with the line "Hey baby, nice bum." It was a good story?but total fiction. And Namu has shocked audiences at book readings in the U.S. by stating that she would never take a Mosuo man because she can't stand "their stink." Such comments are familiar to many Chinese and to me?I've known Namu for a decade and have observed as she mingles fantasy and fact based on what she thinks will sell. "My challenge," Mathieu acknowledges, was to "make her story accessible to a Western audience" without whitewashing Namu's strong personality.

娜姆的合著者,人类学家Christine Mathieu写书之前,对娜姆进行了为期几个月的采访。Mathieu的在场帮娜姆打压了一些不合理情节。比如,娜姆描述爸爸跨白马进村,向妈妈求爱,嘴里说“Hey baby,nice bum”(嘿,宝贝,好性感的屁股)的那段,只能是故事,而非事实。娜姆还说,她不会嫁给摩梭人,因为她无法容忍摩梭男人身上的“臭味”,这样的话让所有的美国读者感到震惊。很多中国人,还有我,对这样的话并不陌生。我认识娜姆十年,每当她从卖座的角度出发,把幻想和事实混为一谈,我都在场。Mathieu也承认,最大的挑战是“让她的故事被西方读者接受”的同时又不掩埋娜姆的强烈个性。

Mathieu succeeds by refusing to portray Namu as just a simple girl with big dreams. The book focuses on Namu's difficult relationship with her mother?no small hurdle in the Land of Women?and with pretty much everyone else. Namu spent years isolated in the mountains herding yaks with an uncle who never speaks. She jealously punishes her sister by feeding her a sausage of human feces to protest her sister's larger portions of meat. By the final pages of the book, Namu has beaten two people bloody, devastated a suitor, demolished a kitchen with an axe and fled her village with her mother flinging stones at her back. Through it all, she remains likable: you have to root for a girl trying so hard to leave her village on her own terms, something her mother tried to do but failed.

Leaving Mother Lake ends two decades ago with Namu departing her homeland and entering adulthood. Her life of Chinese celebrity began shortly after?and is ending now. These days Namu rarely gads about Europe on the elbows of wealthy Western men. Versace has given way to Chinese-style gowns, and her books have grown thinner as she runs out of things to say. She is, she says, negotiating to become the "cultural ambassador" for Red Pagoda Mountain cigarettes. Gone are both the glamorous Western life that she sold in Chinese and the Mother Lake upbringing that she sells in English. The reconciliation of the two distinct sides of Namu would make for an excellent sequel.

Mathieu的成功在于,她并没有把娜姆写成思想简单而梦想远大的女孩。全书的焦点是娜姆和妈妈难以维持的关系——在女儿国度这不是普通意义上的困难——以及娜姆和几乎所有人的不和。娜姆和一个终日沉默的叔叔在深山放牦牛,过了几年与世隔绝的生活。还因为妒忌,伤害了妹妹,喂她塞入人粪的香肠,以此抗议妹妹得到的肉比自己大份。在书的最后几页,那姆痛打了两个人,挫败了一个追求者,用斧头砍了灶台,然后在母亲从后面扔石头砸过来的情势下,逃离了村庄。整本书从头至尾,那姆www.pets12345.com:当一个女孩如此奋力想离开自己的村庄(甚至她的母亲也尝试过,但以失败告终),我们不得站在她一边。

《离开母亲湖》里发生的事早在20年前就结束了,那姆离乡后进入成年。很快,她便过上了名人的生活——但这样的生活也走到了尽头。现在的那姆很少挽着富人的手臂周游欧洲。范思哲也换成了中式外衣。她的书也越写越薄,因为该写的都写尽了。她说在争取当红塔山香烟的文化大使。她用中文写的西式华彩生活,和用英文写的《母亲湖》里面小时候的熏陶,也一去不复返了。那姆身上截然不同的两面和解了。这会给她本人带来一个好归宿吧。