第47回 生と死を考えるきっかけに



『Heidegger and a Hippo walk Through Those Pearly Gates』
(Thomas Cathcart & Daniel Klein))

では今月の1冊目。本当は先月取り上げようかなと思ってたやつで、Thomas Cathcart & Daniel Kleinの「Heidegger and a Hippo walk Through Those Pearly Gates」という本。これはシリーズもので、最初に「Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar」というのが出ています。ハイデッガーといえば「存在と時間」ですから、この本は生と死、死後の世界などを取り上げています。

Excuse us, but can you spare a moment? We’re taking a survey here and we’d like to ask you a question. It’ll only take a minute and we won’t even ask your name, okay? So here it is:

Do you really think you’re going to die?
Really and truly?
Do you really think your life is going to come to an end some day?

Thank your time. No hurry to answer. Well, except for the fact that every moment that passes is one less moment in your lifetime.

If you’re anything like us, you probably don’t totally believe that the final curtain will come down one day. We can sort of grasp the fact of death in general, but in particular? Not so much. We’re like the Armenian-American writer William Saroyan, who wrote in a letter to his survivors, “Everybody has got to die, but I always believed an exception would be made in my case.”



『Fundraising the Dead』
(Sheila Connolly)

今月の2冊目はまた軽めの本ですが、今度はA museum Mysteryと題されたシリーズものです。Sheila Connollyの「Fundraising the Dead」。こちらは著者が実際に体験した事件からヒントを得て書かれたそう。博物館のfundraiser(基金調達係、こういう仕事もあるんですね)が、博物館に収められていたジョージ・ワシントン直筆の手紙、そしてarchivist(公文書保管人)の殺人事件に挑むというもの。実際に謎に取り組むと、いろいろな犯罪が顔を出して……みたいな話ですが、ストーリー自体はもちろん、博物館の裏話みたいな部分を楽しむこともできます。文章はこんな感じ。

The sight of Marty Terwilliger charging into my office with fire in her eyes was never a good thing, but it was particularly unwelcome right now, as I was trying to put the finishing touches on the grand gala planned for this evening. Tonight was a big event, a really big event, and I was in charge of making it happen. The venerable Pennsylvania Antiquarian Society in Philadelphia was celebrating its 125th anniversary as the guardian of the historic treasures of Philadelphia and the surrounding counties. We were expecting nearly two hundred people, which would set a new record for a Society event.



『Ghost Walk』
(Brian Keene)

ついでにもう一冊。Brian KeeneのGhost Walk。今回のは呪われているという伝説のある場所で、ハロウィーンに肝試しが行われるが、そこには本当に邪悪な存在がいて……という内容。ホラーですが、いつも通り達者な読ませる内容になっています。スティーヴン・キング同様に、恐怖ばかりでなく、さりげなく描き出されるアメリカのいろいろな断片が楽しいです。(現在「Under the Dome」挑戦中ですが、あまりの厚さに(1000ページ超え)持ち歩けず、数ヶ月掛けて読む予定(^-^;)

…And his only son, Tyler, getting killed in a war that didn’t make any sense — a war that nobody seemed to care about anymore. At least not enough to get off their couches, turn off their televisions, and protest about it in the streets. His parents had protested Vietnam in the sixties. That’s how they’d met each other. Rich had a picture of his parents standing at the Mall in Washington D.C., wearing bell-bottoms, carrying placards, and flashing peace signs. His father had been in ‘Nam the year before. He’d decided America shouldn’t be there and did what he thought was right. Came home after finishing his tour and added his voice to the dissent. Protested. Spoke up about things.

Rich’s generation — they’d dropped the ball. Nobody cared anymore. People didn’t give a shit about the war. As long as they had Paris Hilton and Britney Spears and George Clooney and Bran-ge-fucking-lina or whatever the hell they called themselves, that was all people cared about. Democrat or Republican — both were part of the problem, rather than a solution.


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