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作者:John Grant Ross
出版社:Camphor Press

• 1999年作者曾造訪台灣,親身經歷九二一大地震
• 這是一本具備深厚歷史基礎的遊記,讀它就像跟著作者來一場深度台灣旅行
• 作者出生於紐西蘭,但熱愛亞洲,花費超過25年在亞洲旅行

預估閱讀時間:02:30
文章難度:★★★☆☆

 

In his book, Formosan Odyssey: Taiwan, Past and Present, John Grant Ross makes a physical journey from the north to south coasts of Taiwan and a historical journey from the past into the present. In the book he acts as a personal vehicle for most of the information about Taiwan.

在《Formosan Odyssey: Taiwan, Past and Present》書中,作者John Grant Ross實地踏足台灣從北到南的每個角落;也在台灣的過去與現在間,走了一趟歷史的旅程。在書中,他將扮演著你的專屬台灣知識庫。

 

He bravely starts the book off with a description of his personal experience of the 921 earthquake, a traumatic episode in Taiwan’s past. Interestingly, much of the historical information Ross provides is from the perspective of expatriates in Taiwan. He delves deep into the journals of Canadian Reverend George MacKay and other missionaries who lived here. Their impressions of the country at that time are a huge contrast to the current modern country it is now. Much of this information is presented in a funny way, and Ross does a good job of creating a story out of a huge historical survey.

作者大膽地以九二一大地震的親身經歷作為全書的開場,這是台灣充滿傷痕一段過去。有趣的是,作者Ross提供的台灣歷史知識,多以外國人的觀點切入。他深入研究加拿大籍的馬偕牧師 (George MacKay) 和台灣其他外籍宣教師的日誌,他們當時對於台灣的印象,和現在這個現代國家有著天壤之別。作者以趣味的方式呈現許多關於台灣的資訊,並且將對於台灣歷史龐大的研究,巧妙地轉化成一篇故事。

 

This history is not the type of content you would be forced to memorize in school. It’s more vivid, mature and offbeat. In one chapter, Ross interviews one of the world’s leading experts on the Chinese practice of foot binding, Dr. Ko Chi-sheng. Dr. Ko gives a provocative opinion about how Chinese history was limited by foot binding: “So while the west was able to explore the world, to colonize the world and send settlers out to America, Canada … the Chinese were restricted by the both the physical and mental consequences of foot-binding. They couldn’t take their women.” Historians might disagree with Dr. Ko’s opinion but his perspective is one of many insightful moments on offer in Ross’ book.

這本書中的歷史知識並不如你在學校所需背誦的那般,它們更生動、更成熟,且非常另類。在其中一個章節,作者Ross訪問了一位專門研究纏足習俗的世界級專家——柯基生醫師。柯醫師提出了關於中國歷史如何被纏足習俗所限,一個頗具爭議的意見:「當西方國家開始有能力探索世界、殖民世界、並將國人送至美國、加拿大等新地拓墾時,中國人還被纏足所帶來的生理、以及心理後果所限制,因為中國女人帶不出門。」歷史學家或許會不同意這種說法,但這是在本書中最有覺察力的段落之一。

 

Reading about travel can be inspiring. While living in Taiwan, Ross asked interesting questions and made big journeys. Read this book and take a journey of your own. Ross could inspire you to plan less, learn more and see the world with a new attitude.

閱讀關於旅行的書籍能非常具有啟發性。當作者Ross生活在台灣時,他問了許多有趣的問題,也壯遊了數次。來看看這本書,然後走一段你自己的旅程吧,作者將會建議你少計畫些、多學習些,然後以全新的態度來看待這個世界。

 


文/ Peter Gibbon

本文收錄於英語島English Island 2018年12月號
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