В качестве отдыха от нее прочитал Magic, психологический триллер 76 года Уильяма Голдмана, которого я до сих пор знал только как известного сценариста и автора замечательной и горячо любимой книги The Princess Bride. Я обычно не читаю психологические триллеры (и вообще любые триллеры), но решил попробовать.
Впечатление осталось смешанное (оценка - 5/10). Все, что в этой книге относится к жанру триллера - все, что создает напряжения, поддерживает его, помещает героев в опасные для жизни ситуации (причем они об этом не подозревают, а читатель должен знать и переживать) - все это меня очень раздражало. С другой стороны, значительная часть книги совсем не об этом, она рассказывает о детстве героя, о его профессии и как он добился в ней успеха, о его школьной учебе и влюбленности, итд. Все это написано очень хорошо, читается просто затаив дыхание, и ради этих сцен и отрывков стоило прочитать эту книгу. Стиль этих глав во многом походит на стиль "Принцессы-невесты".
Так, например, в главе о детстве героя есть длинный рассказ о футболисте, и это, пожалуй, первое описание чего-то в американском футболе - из многих книг, фильмов и ТВ-сериалов, в которых мне такие описания попадались - которое меня увлекло и целиком захватило. Это оформлено как рассказ отца сыну об игре, которую он видел много лет назад. Я целиком процитирую этот рассказ ниже - он совершенно не требует знания контекста - и демонстрирует то, что мне так нравится в стиле Голдмана.
Да, еще надо вот что не забыть сказать: если вы собираетесь прочитать этот роман, ни в коем случае не читайте ничего о нем, ни в Википедии, ни в рецензиях на Амазоне, нигде. Почти все описания романа немедленно и полностью раскрывают один из главных секретов, который по замыслу автора понимаешь по мере чтения очень не сразу, и если это знать заранее, то совершенно убивает этот эффект.
“This was the best thing ever happened to me, the high point of my life, y’understand? And I was there, I saw it all, and I cried, so you pay mind.”
Corky stared at his father.
“I’ve read about ’em all and I’ve seen ’em all, every man ever run with a football, you name ’em, I made it my business to be there. Only not Nagurski. Bronko Nagurski and they said he was the greatest ever tucked a football under an arm. He was from Minnesota, went to school there, played pro in Chicago, I never got my chance to really check him out. But he was so great that when he wasn’t runnin’, they couldn’t just let him sit on the bench so they played him in the line, played him at tackle, and to this day he is the only one in the history of the world ever made All-American at two positions in one year—do you realize how great that man must have been? No one else ever dreamed of being All-American at two positions all the same year, and he done it. Nagurski. Weighed two thirty-five. Fast they said. Couldn’t be brought down, they said. No one ever came close, they said.
“But I never got my shot to really see. I was east and he was out there. He played pro, tore the league apart, then went back to Minnesota and I never saw him. Well, you get over things, I got over that.
“Then one Sunday I was passing through Chicago on my way back east—I did a lot of truckin’ during the war, driving valuable stuff all over, good work, hard, but it paid, better’n massagin’ I can promise you that, and I read in the papers that Nagurski was gonna play. Now that wasn’t the news. See, it was wartime, there wasn’t enough blue chippers around, so to fill out the rosters they brought in what they could get, and I read that Nagurski was coming back, but only to play substitute tackle, not to ever run with the ball.
“But this Sunday in Chicago the papers said maybe, maybe they would have to try to let him run, on account of there was only three fullbacks and one was injured and another wasn’t up to snuff. So if the half sick one got hurt and his replacement too, well, they had no choice but to give the ball to Bronko and they asked would he do it if that happened and he said he didn’t much want to but he’d try.
“Fourteen years, Corky. He’d been out of college fourteen years. He’d been retired from the pro game for half that long and for an athlete, that’s seven lifetimes. He was old. Old I’m telling you. And I’m in Chicago, remember, and I’m due back east, but I thought, I got to see this today, I got to watch, even if it’s a million to one against him ever carrying, I got to be there if the Bronko gets the ball.”
“You said you cried,” Corky said.
“I took the bus out to old Commiskey Park. See, this wasn’t just an ordinary game, this was a city rivalry, the Bears against the Cardinals, and Nagurski, he was with the Bears and it wasn’t even an ordinary city rivalry—the division title was on the line. The Bears had to win to get to the play-offs. The Cardinals were dying to stop ’em. This was something—think of a Normandy-Liberty shoot out and multiply it a hundred times and you got some idea what it was like for the Bears to be going against the Cardinals, two Chicago teams, with everything riding. If you’d have given the players lead pipes, they would have all been dead after the opening kickoff, that’s how hard they hit. And I was there to see it all.
“And the Cardinals slaughtered ’em. Just really took it to ’em. And Nagurski sat on the bench. I tried getting a look at him but I didn’t have binocs, he just looked like anybody else. Big, sure, but nothing special, and in the second quarter I think it was, the fullback for the Bears who was feeling poorly, he got racked up bad and he was done and I thought omijesus, am I glad I come to this, there’s only one healthy fullback left.
“Then in the third quarter the Cardinals went to town. They were the underdogs, see, but they weren’t going to let the Bears go on to glory and when it got to be twenty-four to fourteen with the Cardinals stopping the Bears cold, well, some people even started getting ready to beat the crowd, and the Bears tried a run and the Cardinals wouldn’t let nobody go nowhere and everybody unpiled—everybody except the Bears’ fullback.
“The whole park knew it, Corky. You could tell. The word was whizzing all around the stands. ‘He’s comin’ in. The Bronko. The Bronko.’ And I sat there thinking, omijesus, what a great spot for a legend to be in, coming back after so many years, one quarter to play, the title on the line and ten points behind. You lead your team to victory, you can’t ever die after that.
“And then the crowd started screaming like nothin’ you ever heard because on the bench, he stood up. Nagurski. And he reached for his helmet. And he come onto the field. And right then as I watched him I knew I was the fool of all the world and if there was one place I didn’t want to be it was Commiskey Park in Chicago with Nagurski coming in to play.”
“Because you could tell when he lumbered on. He was slow. Fourteen years since college. Old. Old. It was gone, every bit of what he had was gone, he was nothing, you could see that when he was to the huddle and I knew they were gonna piss on him, they brought him back from Minnesota just so they could piss on him, it didn’t matter if he was All-American at two positions in one year, what matters is how are you remembered at the end and this was the end but there was still one chance.”
“Tell me, tell me.”
“Well, everybody knew they were gonna give the ball to Bronko but the Bears, they had this Jew quarterback, Luckman, and I don’t have to tell you he was smart do I, and if you’re smart and everybody knows what you’re gonna do, well you don’t do it, you fake it and do something else and when they came out of the huddle, and when they lined up with Nagurski at fullback and Luckman at quarterback, well, it had to be a decoy thing, they had to pretend to give him the ball and then Luckman could throw one of his long passes and maybe the Bears would be only behind by three with a chance to win it all.”
Mutt leaned back against the row behind him and closed his eyes to the sun.
“Only it wasn’t no decoy.”
“You mean they gave him the ball?”
Mutt nodded. “They gave it to him and he put it under his arm and just kind of ran slow, straight into the Cardinal line. They were all waiting for him. All these big guys and Nagurski tried, you could see that, but they just picked him up, the Cardinals did, and for one second they just held him on their shoulders.”
“And then they threw him down?”
“Not exactly, they all fell backwards and he gained four yards.”
“He gained?—but you said—”
“—I couldn’t believe it either. He kind of got up and shook himself off and went back into the huddle and out the Bears come again and this Luckman, he hands the ball to Nagurski and he lumbers up and they’re waiting only this time he falls forward for eight more. First down.”
“How did he do it?”
“I couldn’t figure it myself. But it was starting to get a little eerie on the field. You could see all the Cardinal linemen slapping each other on the asses and the Bears come out again and this time they did fake and the pass was good for another first down and the next play was Nagurski kind of slipping down for six. He was like an ax hitting a tree. It doesn’t matter how big the tree is, when the ax starts coming, you better look out.
“Now the Bears were inside the twenty. And there wasn’t any doubt about what was gonna happen. It was gonna be the Bronko up the middle and all these Cards, they bunched, waiting, and sure enough, here he comes, and they hit him and he hits them and for a second they did what they could but then he bursts through and he’s doing five, six, eight, and then they knock him down and he’s crawling—crawling for the goal, and everybody’s screaming and there’s a Cardinal on his back, trying to make him stop but he can’t, he can’t, and finally about six guys jump him at the one and stop him short of the TD. But they were scared now. They knew he was coming and they knew there wasn’t anything they could do about it, and they waved their fists and tried to get steamed up but old Bronko, he just lined up behind the quarterback and the quarterback give him the ball and they’re all waiting, Corky—eleven fucking Cards are waiting and this old man starts forward and they’re braced and he jumps sideways at them, the old man flies at them and they parted like water and he was through and the rest of the game was nothing, the Bears slaughter them behind the Bronko who gains a hundred yards in one quarter and for a while the Card fans were screaming ‘Stop him, stop him’ but after a little they quit that, nothing could stop him, and after it was over I sat there bawling, and I tried to get at it, what was it that had happened out there, because it couldn’t happen but it did, a man pissed back at the Gods, Corky, and finally I realized you had to be so proud of yourself that nothing else mattered and that’s what I taught Willie all those years but not good enough because he got taken, and it’s what I’m gonna teach you if you’ll listen long enough, and when you go out there today you just think ‘I’m proud of me I’m proud of me’ and then you’ll be pissing at the Gods and won’t that be the day.”
Corky did his best, tried very hard, and in the end got both legs broken for the effort.