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Best Things, Worst Places: Six Good Books

by Maggie Fergusson

Far From the Tree by Andrew Solomon (Chatto, hardback, out now). Victims of discrimination often turn in on themselves, broken and embittered. But years of torment about his sexuality inspired Andrew Solomon to reach out to others in a ten-year labour of empathy, generosity and love. In interviews with parents from across the socio-economic spectrum, he explores the experience of bringing up children who are different from their peers—whether deaf, autistic, schizophrenic, disabled, transgender, criminal or gifted, children with Down’s syndrome or dwarfism, or children born of rape (what the Rwandans call les enfants de mauvais souvenir). The result, while often heart-rending, is a triumphant celebration of the power of parental love. “It would have been better for the world if Dylan had never been born,” says the mother of a teenage killer. “But I believe it would not have been better for me.”

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Chinese (from

《不肖》,安德鲁•所罗门(Andrew Solomon)著(查托出版社,精装版,已上市)。受歧视者往往满腹怨气、黯然神伤,选择自我封闭式的生活。但是安德鲁•所罗门的性取向给他带来的多年折磨却驱使他花了十年的时间努力向别人伸出双手。这是一段有关同情、慷慨和爱的历程。他采访了来自各个社会阶级的父母,探讨了他们养育特异子女的经验。这些父母的子女包括聋哑人士、自闭症患者、精神分裂症患者、变性人、罪犯、天才、患有唐氏综合症或侏儒症的孩子,以及被强奸所生的孩子(卢旺达人称其为“痛苦记忆之子”)。这些采访的故事虽然常常令人心碎,却也是对父母之爱的崇高颂扬。一位少年杀人犯的母亲这么说道:“如果迪兰当初没有出生,那世界将会更美好,但我相信那并不会让我的生活更美好。”