肖江虹,男,鲁迅文学院第十五届高研班学员,作品在《人民文学》《当代》《钟山》《中国作家》《天涯》《山花》等刊物发表,部分作品被《小说选刊》《新华文摘》《小说月报》《中篇小说选刊》等选载和入选各类选本。著有长篇小说《向日葵》。曾获人民文学奖、小说选刊年度奖、贵州省政府文艺奖等。根据其小说改编的同名电影《百鸟朝凤》获“中国电影华表奖”、“五个一工程奖”、“中国电影金鸡奖”评委会特别奖、“北京大学生电影节”评委会大奖等。

  《百鸟朝凤》讲的是唢呐的传承和时代的变迁。在一个社会变革、民心浮躁的年代里,新老两代唢呐艺人为了信念的坚守所产生的真挚师徒情、父子情、兄弟情。

  故事发生在一个万事讲规矩的年代,给钱是规矩,收钱是规矩,连推辞都是规矩的一部分。在无双镇,吹唢呐这种传之久远的民间艺术,绝不止于娱乐,更具意味的是它在办丧事时是对远行故去者的一种人生评价——道德平庸者只吹两台,中等的吹四台,上等者吹八台,德高望重者才有资格吹“百鸟朝凤”。

  老一代唢呐艺人焦家班班主焦三爷是个外冷内热的老人,看起来严肃古板,其实心怀热血。

  焦三爷老了,急需培养接班人。挑谁?培养谁?怎样培养?如何率先垂范?徒弟游天鸣初进焦家班时年幼稚嫩,对焦三爷十分敬畏,虽然心有不甘被父亲“抛弃”在焦家班学艺,但仍有为争家门荣光全力博取师父赞许的信心。能够进入焦家班的学子必须人品端正,忠守唢呐艺人的德行,从骨子里做到“唢呐离口不离手”。最终,天鸣的善良、忠诚打动了焦三爷。

  然而时代的巨轮滚滚向前,一个人的坚守有用吗?故事的结尾,游本盛也没能了却一生的心愿,哪怕听儿子给吹上四台的唢呐,只有呼啸的风在送终。曾经风光无限的焦三爷也离开了黄土地去了大城市做一个安保。那个衣衫褴褛却吹出了纯正《百鸟朝凤》的乞丐,就是唢呐的一个缩影吧.....

  推荐语

  《百鸟朝凤》是肖江虹很有代表性的小说,他对自己家乡的民俗民风情有独钟,特别善于挖掘独特的细节,并知道怎样把这些文化融入到人物的精神气质里。作者完全站在老百姓的立场上,站在生活中弱者这一头,同情他们,热爱他们,为他们说话,看到他们内心的强大,看到他们精神的价值。

  从一个乡村唢呐演奏家成长的故事中,就可以看出作家潜藏的这种独有的叙事能力。关于乡村民间音乐家的生活现在也许已经消失了,但是,作家用小说的方式把这样传统的生活复活了。不知道那些活生生的独特细节作者是怎样挖掘到的,但这些细节坚挺地支撑着小说人物性格的典型化框架,这些细节吸引住了读者,这些优秀的细节也支撑着小说主题的突现,这才叫小说的品质。

  当代社会的经济高速发展,对传统文化有着严重的破坏,也使这种乡村文化面临着解体的危机。这个乡村民间音乐家群体的失败,铸造了一出传统文化的悲剧,也是农民在当代现实中的悲剧,很值得我们去反思。读过这篇小说的人,都会认可主题内涵中的批判现实主义意识,也将认可他把这样的意识通过人物性格塑造所展示的一种批判现实的思想力度。

 

Song of the Phoenix

Xiao Jianghong

  Author Profile

  Xiao Jianghong, male, studied in the 15th session of the Lu Xun College of Literature’s Advanced Program. His works have been published in People's Literature Monthly, Dangdai Bimonthly, Zhongshan Bimonthly, Chinese Writers Semimonthly, Tianya Bimonthly and Shanhua Semimonthly, some of which have been included in Novel Selection Biannually, Xinhua Wenzhai Semimonthly, Novel Monthly, Novella Selection Bimonthly, etc. He has also written the full-length novel Sunflower. He has won a number of prizes such as the People’s Literature Award, Novel Selection Annual Award and Guizhou Municipal Government Literature and Art Award. The movie adaptation of his novel Song of the Phoenix won the Special Jury Award of China’s Golden Rooster, the Jury Grand Prix of Chinese University Students Film Festival, Huabiao Film Awards and the Five One Project Award, etc.

  Synopsis

  ​Song of the Phoenix tells of the suona horn’s passage from generation to generation as well as time’s sweeping transformations. It depicts the genuine affection found between master and apprentice, father and son, as well as in brotherhood, as both old and new generations of suona artists demonstrate their adherence to personal beliefs in an era of social changes and personal anxieties.

  The story is set at a time when everything goes by the book – how to give or receive payment, even how to decline payment. In the town of Wushuang (Unparalleled), the time-honored folk art of playing the suona means much more than entertainment. This action actually signifies a type of judgment on their life, as done so during their funeral ceremonies. For a person of lower moral status, only two suonas would be played; of moderate status, four; of superior status, eight. And it is only for the most revered that the Song of the Phoenix be played.

  Third Master Jiao is head of the Jiao theatrical troupe. A suona artist of the old generation, he appears cold and stern on the surface, but reveals a warm and passionate inside.

  Jiao’s getting advanced in his years, so finding a successor for his craft stays at the forefront of his mind, and the sooner he can find one, the better. But how should he go about picking a candidate and training them? Is there an ideal way to train them? How should he lead himself as role model and teacher? Later on, he meets You Tianming, an apprentice who proves himself a tender and naive person, standing in awe at Jiao. Tianming initially resented being “forsaken” by his father to learn this troupe’s art, but he later shows commitment in honoring his family and winning the appreciation of his master. Those deemed eligible to join the troupe must be straightforward and honest; they must abide by trade ethics and carry forward the spirit of this art; and at long last, Tianming wins over Third Master Jiao with his kindness and loyalty.

  However, can one’s faith remain unshaken against time’s ebb and flow?

  By the end of the story, You Benshen has been unable to fulfill his lifelong wishes. His son doesn’t play four suonas for him, and one can only hear the howling wind as it rings for his departed soul. Even the once powerful Third Master Jiao has left the yellow land of the countryside, working as a security guard in a big city. The shabby beggar seen playing the Song of the Phoenix in its genuine form becomes the very epitome of suona…

  Reviews

  Xiao Jianghong leaves his unmistakable mark once again with his new title, Song of the Phoenix. With a special fondness for the local customs and conventions of his hometown, he is skilled in revealing unique details and incorporating these cultural elements into the psyche and mentality of his characters.

  Standing in support of the vulnerable masses, the author sympathizes with them, devotes himself to them, and speaks for them. He sees in them their inner strength and their spiritual value.

  The author’s gift for unique narration reaches its height in this coming-of-talent story of a country suona performer. He reproduces, in the form of novel, the traditional life of country folk musicians, of whom may be long gone by now. The author goes to new depths, searching for those exquisite details that lie beyond our knowledge, so as to breathe true essence into his characters, appeal to readers, and bring attention to his novel’s underlying themes. It goes without saying that this is yet another of his high-quality works.

  Modern society has brought with it rapid economic growth, severely undermining traditional culture and endangering culture in the countryside. The dying out of these country folk musicians signifies this; their disappearance also embodies the tragedy more and more farmers face everyday – the wandering that comes when they are displaced and seeking their purpose.

  Those who read the story will all recognize the awareness of critical realism embedded in this theme. Neither will they fail to see the power of critical realism as demonstrated by the characters in their personalities.

作者:《人民文学》副主编 李东华

译者:李欣

审校:Damine Liles


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