The ceremony was laden with symbolism. Missouri was the home state of President Harry S. Truman, whose major decisions regarding Japan had been to use the atomic bombs on two Japanese cities and to hold firm to the policy of "unconditional surrender" of his deceased predecessor Franklin D. Roosevelt. One of the flags displayed on the Missouri was the same Old Glory that had been flying over the White House on December 7, 1941, when Pearl Harbor was attacked. Another, rushed by plane from Annapolis, was the standard with thirty-one stars used by Commodore Matthew Perry on his flagship Powhatten when his gunboat diplomacy forced Japan to end more than two centuries of feudal seclusion. The appearance of Perry's small, mixed fleet of sailing vessels and coal-fueled, smoke-belching "black ships" in 1853 had propelled Japan onto its ultimately disastrous course of global competition with the Western powers. Now, a shade under a century later, the Americans had returned with a gigantic navy, army, and air force that reflected technology and technocracy of an order Perry could not have envisioned in his wildest dreams --flaunting the commodore's old flag as a reprimand.
She nodded, then asked me, "Have you told Tom about Boris?" I knew I couldn't lie because she'd check with Walsh, so I replied, "I have not." "Why not?" Good follow-up question. And I couldn't finesse this, and I didn't want to tell her truth, so I retreated into the last refuge of husbands and boyfriends and said, "Trust me." "What is that supposed to mean?" "Trust me."
ケン・フォレットの『The Pillars of the Earth』は、小さい活字のぎっしりつまったペーパー・バックでおよそ１千ページある。もっとも中身は、ローラーコースター型のオハナシだから、あんまり長さは苦にならない、するすると読めて、じつに面白い。 えー、ここまでやるか、もう、いいかげんに勘弁してやれよ、と思わず口にでるほど、善良な人々が苛まれる展開が延々と続く。主人公たちの小さな勝利は長続きせず、無政府状態の社会を絶好の機会にして悪と非道が栄える成り行きに読者の不満とフラストレーションは高まり続ける。もちろん最後は、１千ページのカタルシスといわんばかりにすべてが予定調和のなかに収まるのは、最初からわかっているので、こんな通俗的な勧善懲悪物語、長々読み通すのはただただご苦労様なことだ、といういやがらせみたいな言い方もできないことはない。 ただ、そう言ってしまってはみもふたもないので、じゃあ、つまんないのか、というと、最初に言ったように面白くて夢中になってしまうので困ってしまう。 まあ、ときにはこういう、白黒はっきりしたわかりやすい小説もまた必要ということで。